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Senators want counties to run NCPB silos



The Senate committee probing the maize crisis has recommended that county governments immediately take over NCPB depots.

The team 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.

See: Inside story of the NCPB maize scam

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.

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.

See more: Kiunjuri distances himself from Sh6bn NCPB scandal

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