Farmers demand dues from NCPB

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By Kipchumba Kemei

Wheat farmers have asked the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) to pay them for produce delivered.

The farmers urged the board to pay Sh168 million for 60,000 bags they delivered between December and last month. They said pay delay would affect farm preparation and buying of inputs.

Members of the Narok Wheat Farmers Association also asked the Government to provide subsidised fertiliser it promised last year for distribution by NCPB.

Association Chairman David Mpatiany said: “The board should hasten payment for the deliveries to enable farmers prepare their land ahead of the next planting season.”

He said farmers in Mau had about 30,000 bags of wheat yet to be delivered.

He expressed fear that the harvest would rot because of poor storage facilities.

“The Government should seek funds from the Exchequer and pay farmers as most were unable to service their loans,” he said.

Farmers also urged millers to buy wheat directly from them instead of importing to make up for shortfall in supply.

Faulted agreement

The farmers faulted the agreement between the Government and millers that for every one bag millers buy from growers, they buy three duty free.

They said the arrangement would lead to flooding of wheat in the market and punish farmers who harvest the crop in July.

“Imports will flood the market and farmers who are still harvesting will suffer because of the poor prices,” Mpatiany said.

Last week, 1,000 wheat farmers held a demonstration demanding payment of their dues from the National Cereals Produce Board.

They criticised Agriculture Minister William Ruto for allegedly failing to protect their welfare and demanded his immediate resignation.

The price of fertiliser has since reduced from Sh6,400 last season to Sh2,800.

The cereals board is yet to stock subsidised fertiliser even after the Agriculture Minister promised that the Government would finance it.

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