Kenya’s cereal board seeks US$2.7m to refurbish grain dryers, storage facilities

KENYA – Kenya’s National cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) is seeking Ksh 300 million (US$2.7m) to upgrade its grain drying and storage facilities in order to offer efficient and affordable services to grain farmers in the country.

The financing will also enable the agency to half the drying fee charged from the current Ksh40 per unit to Ksh20. Likewise, storage fees will be slashed from Ksh10 per bag per month to Ksh3, following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive.

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“We are ready to act on President’s directive but we need some money immediately so that we can effectively deliver on what is required of us. We have made the requisition to our parent ministry in regard to this,” said NCPB managing director Joseph Kimote.

According to reports by Business Daily, the driers will be community-based and will be managed by a group of farmers or cooperatives at community level.

The agency further plans to use Ksh 18 billion (US$165m) this season to buy maize from farmers under its commercial wing.

“We are ready to act on President’s directive but we need some money immediately so that we can effectively deliver on what is required of us. We have made the requisition to our parent ministry in regard to this.”

NCPB Managing Director – Joseph Kimote

It recently established a warehouse receipt council to undertaken the roles of buying, selling and setting maize prices, a scenario that has been characterized by business unethical practices leading to grand corruption in the country.

With the new reforms, Warehouse Receipt System (WRS) will now be an open trading platform that links buyers and sellers, modelled along the stock exchange.

It will enable farmers to store their maize as they monitor prices, reducing the pressure to sell immediately after harvest when prices are normally low and sell when it is favourable.

In addition, the system is aimed to remove the logistics burden and facilitate producers and traders to access agricultural credit against the deposit certificate.

Meanwhile, NCPB has entered into a partnership deal with the Agro-processors Association of Kenya (APAK) to enhance grain management and value addition services in the country.

The partnership provides a framework to enable efficient use of grain handling and storage facilities as well as promote grain quality testing especially for aflatoxin and fumigation.

Also, the cereals board has signed another agreement with the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) to spearhead adoption and utilization of the harmonized East Africa standards for food and nutrition safety.

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