KENYA – Kenya’s National Cereals and Produce Board has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Coastal County of Kenya, Taita Taveta to establish an agri-business center at the Timbila depot.
According to reports by Kenya News Agency, the center will facilitate easy access of affordable agro-inputs and agricultural products by farmers and also provide a ready market to their agricultural produce.
Acting as a one stop shop, farmers will also access financial services, extension services, post-harvest management solutions, leveraging on NCPB’s knowledge on good post-harvest management and wide array of the organization’s storage facilities.
“This partnership is in the spirit of the Constitution of Kenya which devolved agriculture to the counties, and also supports the achievement of the Food and Nutrition Security Pillar of the Big Four Agenda.”Managing Director of NCPB – Joseph Kimote Kimote
Through the collaborations, farmers will also use the recently introduced Warehouse Receipt System (WRS), an open trading platform that links buyers with sellers and modelled along the stock exchange.
The system will enable farmers to store their produce as they monitor prices, reducing the pressure to sell immediately after harvest when prices are normally low and sell when it is favourable.
“This partnership is in the spirit of the Constitution of Kenya which devolved agriculture to the counties, and also supports the achievement of the Food and Nutrition Security Pillar of the Big Four Agenda,” Managing Director of NCPB, Joseph Kimote Kimote said.
“Our farmers get bumper harvests from time to time but they lack storage facilities and so they are forced to sell their grain at throwaway prices. But by working with NCPB, farmers will not have to rush to sell,” Taita Taveta County Secretary Mr. Liverson Mghendi reiterated.
The business centre to be established under the MoU is aligned to the agriculture hub model that NCPB is required to operate under the new reforms.
Strategic Food Reserve now under NCPB
The new changes in the agriculture sector has seen the Strategic Food Reserve (SFR) function placed under NCPB as a new division called National Food Reserves (NFR).
This division will be in charge of food security and will deal with all matters pertaining to the Strategic food Reserve such as managing the Strategic Food Reserve fund, it will collect data and undertake market intelligence (research) and monitor food prices.
The NFR stocks will comprise maize, rice, beans, powdered milk, canned beef and fish.
It will also advise the government on food production and how to boost it through a variety of incentives to farmers (Interventions).
The other division under NCPB Trading division which will run all the Board’s commercial functions with the current being trading commercially in commodities such as fertilizer and cereals together with leasing of storage space and warehousing.
All these together with commercial storage i.e. leasing of storage space and warehousing, will be under the NCPB Trading Division (NTD) which will run the WRS.
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