The Star (Nairobi)

14 February 2013

Kenya: Stop Auctioneers From Seizing Fertiliser - KFA

Farmers have pleaded with the government to stop the auctioneering of NCPB's assets over a Sh500 million debt. Auctioneers want to impound more than 1 million bags of subsidised fertiliser which is being imported by the board because of the debt.

They auctioneers have already sold five NCPB cars and have gone to court to attach the board's bank accounts.The fertiliser which is worth more than Sh2 billion is to arrive at the port of Mombasa in the next few weeks.

Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers and Kenya Farmers Association officials met in Eldoret yesterday and urged the government to intervene and ensure the fertiliser is not impounded.

William Kimosong, Musa Barno from KENFAP and KFA director Kipkorir Menjo said they are worried farmers may face serious planting problems if the fertiliser is impounded.

"Farmers are already preparing for the planting season which starts in a month time and it will be disastrous if the NCPB and the government allow the fertiliser to be impounded," said Kimosong.

Barno said the government should look into ways of sorting out the Sh500 million debt dispute between the NCPB and Erad Suppliers.Last week the government summoned top officials of the board to explain details of the planned sale of assets.

NCPB managing director Gideon Misoi declined to comment on the matter saying it is in court.

Last week Misoi met with senior officials from the Prime Minister's office, the Ministries of Special Programmes and Agriculture where the matter was discussed.

He however issued a brief statement explaining that the debt dispute arose after a government decision in 2004 to buy white maize to replenish the Strategic Grain Reserves.

That is when NCPB contracted Erad Supplies to supply the 4,000 metric tonnes of the maize.

Consequently the board on behalf of the government contracted five firms to supply the maize among them Erad Supplies and Contractors Ltd which won a court case over the Sh500 million dispute.

"The firm was supply 40,000 metric tonnes but did not do so. The matter went to court and and we can not comment further on it. We have faith in country's legal system and believe just will prevail eventually", said NCPB managing director Misoi in a statement released on Friday.

Erad on the other hand maintains the contract was unfairly terminated.

Misoi assured farmers that it has confidence in the court's ability to deliberate on the matter. The farmers have expressed worry that the matter will undermine NCPB's ability to serve farmers this year.

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