The pain of maize farming is real! Maize farmers in Kenya have gone through a lot of challenges in the past years that have nearly brought them to their knees. The challenges ranging from drought, Lethal Necrosis Disease to Fall Army Worms attacks has nearly crippled maize farming to the point that many maize farmers are almost giving up and switching to other crops that will give them value for their money.
Not caring about the problems Kenyan farmers go through to make an honest living, a few individuals in power have gone even further to add insult to injury by taking advantage of the poor vetting process at The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB). It was revealed recently through a parliamentary hearing that NCPB bypassed farmers and allowed middlemen to supply maize which was against the law.
The National Cereals and Produce Board’s (NCPB) apparently paid 18 maize merchants, who failed its vetting, a total of Sh1.05 billion, Parliament heard Thursday.
Preliminary findings of an internal audit that was conducted on the purchase of maize to replenish the Strategic Food Reserves indicates that eight traders out of the 18 pocketed a total of Sh607.8 million.
Something striking is that there are cases where one individual would deliver a huge amount of maize to NCPB through Eldoret, Nakuru and Kisumu depots – Opiyo Wandayi, who chairs PAC, said.
Mr Wandayi, MPs Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills) and Silas Tiren (Moiben) said the committee will summon all the 18 individuals as it seeks to unmask the real faces behind the scam.
The MD Newton Terer has since resigned NCPB and replaced by Albin Sang as acting Managing Director by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Farming is not easy and experiencing corruption hurdles, pests and diseases after toiling a whole year with your crops brings many farmers close to depression. Farmers need real empowerment!