Looting ground? Senators want Counties to take over NCPB

Bungoma senator Moses Wetang’ula and Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri on October 31 /JACK OWUOR
Bungoma senator Moses Wetang’ula and Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri on October 31 /JACK OWUOR/ The Star

The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) has been facing ups and downs with its management tat has seen it witness various scandals. The agriculture ministry led board has seen senators hold discussions with the management to find a long lasting solution in which they now recommend that  county governments immediately take over NCPB depots.

The senate committee also wants National Treasury CS Henry Rotich and former Agriculture CS Willy Bett to take responsibility for the Gazette notices that flooded the market with maize imports and disadvantaged local farmers.

“The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions must ensure the investigations into these matters are not open-ended, but concluded expeditiously and those found culpable prosecuted forthwith,” it says.

The lawmakers have given Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri 45 days to develop regulations and guidelines on importation of maize and other food crops, and table them before the Senate.

In a report tabled on November 27, the team said the counties should be in charge of silos within their borders and come up with a management and maintenance plan.

“The NCPB Act and the Public Finance Management (SFR Trust Fund regulations) should be reviewed with a view to realigning and reconciling their mandates to the devolved system of government,” it says.

The committee co-chaired by Uasin Gishu senator Margaret Kamar and Bungoma’s Moses Wetang’ula says agriculture is a devolved function. The National Cereals and Produce Board Act was passed in 1985.

The devolved functions include unbundling the crop husbandry role and transferring construction of grain storage structure to counties.

Image result for maize scandal memes

The committee also recommended that county governments proactively take up their agriculture function in line with the Constitution. They must ensure market access for produce, access to affordable credit and insurance packages, and availability of farm inputs such as certified seeds and fertiliser, among others, the lawmakers said.

“They should progressively allocate commensurate resources to the agricultural sector to better support farmers in their respective jurisdiction and reduce the cost of production,” it says.

Do you think this will help provide solution to the scandals witnessed at the NCPB?

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