The government will from next week start paying maize farmers Sh2.1 billion for their deliveries to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB), Deputy President William Ruto has said.
Ruto said the Government was committed to addressing challenges facing maize farmers in the country.
Speaking at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral in Eldoret town, during the first anniversary of the late Bishop Cornelius Korir on Saturday, Ruto said NCPB has also been directed to start buying maize that is being harvested.
“Treasury has already released the money and it will be ready within next week,” Ruto said.
The money will be final payments for the farmers who have been waiting since they delivered their produce to the NCPB late last year.
In August, the Agriculture ministry released Sh1.4 billion for deliveries made last year. The farmers were owed Sh3.6 billion.
The Deputy President, at the same time, said the NCPB has been directed to formally communicate to farmers on how their fresh produce that is being harvested would be purchased and the prices.
He said only maize farmers from the country would have their produce purchased by NCPB, saying no outsiders, businessmen, middlemen, brokers or merchants would benefit from the payment.
“We have directed NCPB to formally communicate to maize farmers on how they are going to purchase their produce being harvested now and at what price.
This will only benefit local farmers and not brokers, businessmen or merchants,” the DP said.
“We want to deal directly with the farmers.”
The Deputy President urged communities in the North Rift to embrace peace among themselves and with their neighbors as the only way to honour efforts by the late Bishop Korir in the search for peace in the region.
“Bishop Korir was our father in faith and hero for unity and peace in our nation. As an honour to what he was doing to bring us together, I ask each one of us to emulate the late Bishop Korir by preaching peace, unity and build bridges in his respect,” Ruto said.
He said the late Bishop worked with all leaders in ensuring different ethnic communities living in the region were united and embraced peaceful co-existence.
Present were Governor Jackson Mandago, MPs Oscar Sudi (Kapseret), Caleb Kositany (Soy), and William Chepkut (Ainabkoi).
Kitale Catholic Diocese Bishop Maurice Anthony Crowley, who is also acting Bishop of Eldoret Catholic Diocese, and his Lodwar counterpart Dominic Kimengich among others were at the service.
Bishop Kimengich said the late Bishop Korir played a bigger role in the search for peace in the region.
“Bishop Korir was commonly referred to as ambassador of peace.”
Later in Busia, the Deputy President said a task force would be formed next week to establish how to pay sugarcane farmers who have been waiting for their monies for years.
He said the government is committed and focused on supporting sugar farming and production, saying the demand for sugar has been on the rise.
Ruto also inspected the Busia Sugar Industries Limited accompanied by Busia Governor Sospeter Ojamoong and Budalangi MP Raphael Wanjala.
He said the Government supports the operationalisation of the factory to enable local farmers to earn a living.
“The Government supports manufacturing as a pillar of the Big Four agenda. This factory will support 18,000 farmers and employ 1,500,” he said.
The leaders complained that the factory had not started operations because of interference. The factory constructed at Sh5 billion will crush 3,500 tons of cane per day and over 1 million per year.
Ruto further directed Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri to ensure that Busia Sugar Factory in Busibwabo is licenced in a week’s time.
“In the next one month I will be back and I hope to find that the miller has started crushing and farmers and youth have started benefiting.”