The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: NCPB Overhaul After March 4 Elections

National Cereals and Produce Board will be restructured in three months time. The board will be split into two to make it more effective. The restructuring will be undertaken by the government.

Managing director Gideon Misoi yesterday said plans were at an advanced stage, but that is all he could reveal for now. The board several months ago hired an independent consulting firm to advise on the changes.

Misoi first talked of the restructuring last year. "We want to overhaul the board for it to operate effectively in modern times," said Misoi. The MD said the board which is more than 50-years-old has never been reviewed.

Agriculture secretary Wilson Songa said the NCPB's commercial wing will be privatised soon after the March 4 polls. This means the board will buy maize and other cereals at market prices.

President Kibaki signed into law the bills that will lead to the restructuring of the board among other organizations in the agriculture sector.

Under the restructuring plan the government plans to separate the board's government services like handling of relief food and strategic grain reserves, from its commercial activities.

The consultant hired by the board is to look at the board's operations and advise how best it can be modernized. The restructuring is aimed at enabling the NCPB to better manage its mandate in the agricultural sector.

NCPB will however continue to play its roles in the sector especially support to farmers through supply of subsidized fertilizer which Misoi says had led to increased food production hence there was no need to import maize.

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