Leaders in the North Rift region have asked the national government to ensure all farmers who supplied maize to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) are paid. Speaking during an ill tempered meeting with farmers in Eldoret town, the leaders led by Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago further called on the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) the Directorate of Criminal investigations to hasten probe into the alleged maize scandal.
They further told the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri to quickly name all the cartels that were involved in supply of maize to NCPB at the expense of genuine farmers.
They also demanded for all the millers to be audited to ascertain whether some bought maize from Uganda and Mexico and later sold to NCPB. “We want farmers who supplied their maize to NCPB to be paid even as investigations into the scam continues,” said Mandago.
“NCPB should also reopen to allow other farmers with maize in their stores to supply them,” he added. The leaders also agreed to work together and push for the farmers agenda as a team. “I am happy we finally have all elected leaders in one forum. We need to work together in pushing for farmer’s agenda,” said Moiben MP Silas Tiren.
During the meeting, the following ultimatums were given:
1. CS Agriculture should ensure the few farmers who have not been paid are paid.
2. A bill should be prepared, tabled and passed in parliament to ensure;
a) Government pays interest for any delays in payment.
b) Government pays for any loan defaults by farmers resulting from delay in payment.
c) Government pays farmers in utmost 30days.
3. Farmers want Government to waive AFC loans owed by maize farmers.
4. Agriculture should be fully devolved if the Central government find it impossible to competently manage farmers’ issues.
5. More maize buying and fertilizer distribution centers should be set up across the county; at least two in every constituency.
6. All maize farmers should be facilitated to join cooperative societies so as to increase their bargaining power.
7. If these monkey games continue, farmers should progressively diversify agricultural activities and only do maize farming on a subsistence level.
8. Mwangi Kiunjuri should apologize to our farmers and local maize business men and women for christening them cartels.
9. Farmers’ issues should not be politicized.
Other leaders present in the meeting include Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno, Senator Prof. Margaret Kamar, MPs Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills) Oscar Sudi (Kapseret), William Chepkut (Ainabkoi), Janet Rotich (Turbo), Vincent Tuwei (Mosop), and Caleb Kositany (Soy).