The government, in a move to minimize funds mismanagement, is looking to devolve the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) functions to the county governments.
“Part of the reforms expected to flush out unscrupulous traders and traders who manipulate the management will encompass the separation of commercial and social functions of the NCPB alongside the establishment of a commodity exchange market (COMEX),” said Mwangi Kiunjuri, the Cabinet Secretary of Agriculture.
Kiunjuri also noted that the changes will be accompanied by the separation of the board to make the transition to county levels as well as the operations of the body seamless.
According to the CS, the government projects that the planned devolvement of the board’s operations, responsibilities, and authority to the counties will better services and bring them closer to the farmer.
Kiunjuri, speaking during a Senate committee probing the maize scandal in the country, noted that the commodity exchange market is set to enhance price discovery as well as create an acceptable price that is independent of anyone’s influence. He added that the Ministry of Trade is already strategizing on a perfect framework for the commodity exchange.
The move to devolve the functions of the board comes not long after Ernst & Young, an audit company that was contracted to go through NCPB’s books of account gave a series of recommendations that included the separation of the board from commercial and social functions.
The audit firm also recommended that the board’s functions should be decentralized to lower levels to minimize the financial irregularities.
Kiunjuri made these revelations and told the Senate committee that the government’s decision follows the audit firm’s consultancy report. This was after the senators and chairperson leading the Senate ad-hoc committee, Margaret Kamar, wanted to know what the government is doing to restructure NCPB.
The senators noted that NCPB has failed farmers across the country and done exactly the opposite of what it is expected to do. To date, the senators said, the board has not yet paid farmers. They all agreed that NCPB function decentralization will make service delivery efficient.