21 August 2012

Kenya: State Will Split NCPB Into Two to Make It Effective

The National Cereals and Produce Board will be split into two by the government in a bid to restructure the parastatal. Managing Director Gideon Misoi however says the board will hire an independent firm to advise on the plan before it is Implemented. "We want to look at the board and see how it can operate more effectively in a modern world and, " said Misoi. The MD said the board which is more than 50 years old has never been review before.

He said there has been proposals to separate the board's government services like handling of relief food and strategic grain reserves, from its commercial activities. Misoi said the consultant will look at the board's operations and advise how best it can be modernised. "If they recommend the NCPB be split, then we will have two autonomous parastatals or have two separate units operating under the board," said Misoi.

He said the restructuring was aimed at enabling the NCPB to better manage its mandate in the agricultural sector. He said NCPB projection is that more than 40 million bags of maize will be harvested this year, therefore, ensuring a food surplus. Misoi said the government support to farmers through supply of subsidised fertiliser had led to increased food production hence there was no need to import maize.

"The subsidised fertilizer programme has worked well and we are now looking into ways of how to maintain increased production so that the country remains food secure, " said Misoi. The MD said the new maize disease in parts of the country will not have any negative impact on the harvest.

NCPB has been allocated Sh 1.6 billion by the government, but farmers say the money is inadequate. The government has so far used Sh10 billion to support a subsidy programme for farmers, by supplying them with fertiliser at reduced prices in a bid to help them cut costs. The programme was started in 2006. NCPB has been buying the fertiliser and selling it to the farmers.

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