Lack of a functional board at the Strategic Food Reserve (SFR) could lead to 3.6 million bags of maize worth 8.5 billion shillings at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) going to waste due to yellowing and browning.
This is according to NCPB acting managing director Alvin Sang who has disclosed that maize that was bought by the government in less than one year ago and stored at the SFR could end up being unfit for human consumption if nothing was done about the issue.
According to Alvin Sang, the SFR board which is supposed to make decisions on the stored maize was not functional and thus the reason for the delay in the selling of the cereal.
“We are in the process of removing maize that is yellowing or browning in the silos, but we want the SFR to give us the authority to repackage and create space,” said Mr. Sang.
Sang was speaking to the Senate Committee where he said that NCPB needed funds to be used in the upgrading of the silos so as to enable storage of maize for more than six months.
With the current state of the maize at NCPB and the declined maize prices in the market, the government will be forced to sell the cereal at 3,200 shillings, the same price used to buy it. Maize prices have declined to between 1,500 shillings and 2,000 shillings.
Maize stored at SFR includes the bags that were bought from Mexico last year when the country was facing maize shortage caused by the prolonged drought.
A total of 10.5 million bags of maize were imported from Mexico during the duty-free maize importation window between May and December 2017.
Sang noted that NCPB had so far paid a total of 8,053,320,000 shillings to farmers leaving 3,575,854,400 shillings as pending bills of which 1.4 billion shillings will be paid as soon as the multi-agency team working on the issue identities the real farmers.