KENYA – The Government of Kenya plans to merge the National Cereals and Produce Board-NCPB with the Strategic Food Reserve in a restructuring programme aimed at improving efficiency.
The merging will entail the Strategic Grain Reserve becoming a department under NCPB
According to reports by KBC, NCPB facilities will undergo a revamp to increase capacity that will allow farmers and private millers to store their cereals at a fee.
In the long run, this will ensure food security, in line with the government’s Big Four Agenda.
This follows concerns that the Strategic Grain Reserve and the National Cereals and Produce Board were performing duplicating roles.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya says the merging of functions will reduce bureaucracies and wastage of funds to the tune of Ksh2 billion spent annually on maintaining the two organizations.
He says the government plans to crack the whip on millers who were exclusively sourcing maize from outside Kenya since the deal that occasioned issuance of licenses to import the grain to plug shortages required that millers buy some of the produce locally.
The new initiatives are aimed at enhancing efficiency in the management of the national granary.
In other related news, the government is set to boost the country’s agriculture sector by injecting Sh440 billion (US$428.4m) over the next five years under the Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASTGS) 2019-2029.
It targets to integrate one million farmers in 40 zones producing crops, livestock and fish who will be served by 1000 farmer-oriented small and medium-sized enterprises that provide inputs, equipment, processing and postharvest storage and aggregation.
It will also shift nationwide subsidy to 1.4 million registered high-needs farmers to access inputs and equipment from a variety of private and public providers using e-vouchers with digital service delivery.
In addition to that six large-scale agro-and food-processing hubs will be established through a rapid Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) process, targeting both domestic and export markets.
The strategy also seeks to launch 50 large-scale private farms with 150,000 acres under sustainable irrigation, with government-provided infrastructure and protected land ownership.
In the sugar industry, the government plans to privatize five sugar mills currently experiencing financial and management challenges.
The government-owned sugar mills include Chemelil, Miwani, Muhoroni, Nzoia and SONY sugar companies.
According to Munya, offloading of the sugar factories will be carried out in the medium term and will be part of the country’s agriculture transformation strategy.
The sale of the sugar mills he explained will not be done under the rigorous process as subscribed under privatization commission strategy.
However, Munya explained that the government will fast track a more farmer-investor oriented strategy which will offer quick results.