Sale of NCPB fertiliser put on hold as staff fraud probe begins
Traders posing as farmers were buying in bulk hoping to later sell at exorbitant prices
The government has suspended sale of subsidised fertiliser stored in various depots owned by National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) in North Rift region.
Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Willy Bett said they took the move to pave way for investigations against some employees of the board linked to illegal sale of the input to unscrupulous traders in the region.
Speaking yesterday at the Eldoret’s NCPB depot, Mr Bett said:“i have suspended the sale for two weeks with immediate effect to assess whether the ones we have so far sold reached the intended maize farmers or not.”
The cheap fertiliser is meant for small scale growers.
Mr Bett said some traders posing as maize farmers were buying in bulk hoping to sell the same to farmers at exorbitant prices during next year’s planting season.
“We will bring to book all NCPB employees who are working in cohort with unscrupulous traders to buy the government subsidised farm input,” he said.
The Cabinet Secretary at the same time expressed concern over the low number of farmers delivering their harvested maize to NCPB depots spread across the region.
He said that despite the government offering the prevailing market price of Sh3,200 per 90kg bag of maize, not many farmers from the region had embraced the initiative by offering their produce to the board.
“It is regrettable to note that majority of the farmers were still taking their maize to the middle-men who are offering a paltry Sh 2,600 per 90kg bag and that is exploitation of the highest order,” he said.
He urged farmers to embrace the initiative saying the government was ready and willing to pay them promptly.
Mr Bett also said the government will clear Sh600 million owed to maize farmers from Uasin Gishu County for their maize delivered to the depot two months ago.
CRACKDOWN Agriculture secretary Willy Bett said thorough investigations would be conducted and any culpable NCBP employee brought to book.