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CS Kiunjuri suspends Sh2,300 maize price, deploys safety inspectors to NCPB

Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri during an inspection tour of NCPB depot in Eldoret on Monday, November 12, 2018. /MATHEWS NDANYI

 

The government has suspended the maize price as announced by the Strategic Food Reserve Fund (SFRF).

SFRF, which intends to buy 2.5 million bags from the 2018/19 harvest, said the government was to pay Sh2,300 per 90-kg bag.

Chairman Noah Wekesa, in setting the price, said the country has no shortage of maize due to the bumper harvest experienced in 2017.

Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri said the suspension followed cries by governors and maize farmers over the set price.

Further, he said the government has deployed experts to inspect 3.5 million bags of maize at NCPB reserves.

The team will be comprised of representatives from the Public Health Department, NCPB, Kebs, and Kephis.

This came amid reports that some of the maize in the reserves had gone bad. The team is expected to file a report on the same by Friday.

“We have to tell Kenyans the truth about the maize we have at the stores so that we know exactly what we are consuming,” Kiunjuri said.

He said after touring the NCPB stores in Eldoret town that some of the maize had discoloured.

Kiunjuri said the ministry has taken a sample of 100 bags of the ‘bad maize’ for testing. The same will be used by EACC and DCI for investigations.

The CS added that a task force appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to look into the maize crisis had been gazetted.
“The team held its first meeting where a thematic sub-committee was formed to look into the price issue,” the CS said.

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“The thematic team will hand in its report tomorrow (Wednesday) before a final price of maize is announced. They will look into the cost of production among other issues.”

Governors Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu) and Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia) are members of the task force.

Kiunjuri said the board would only buy maize from genuine farmers adding that some 226 blacklisted farmers have been cleared.

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