The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Grain Board Revamped for Greater Efficiency

The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) will be turned into a business venture and stop relying wholly on the government for funding.

In proposals made, the NCPB will also be known as the Grain Corporation of Kenya (GCK) under a proposed restructuring plan. A report on the proposed restructuring plan for the board was yesterday released and presented to farmers in Eldoret.

The government hired consultants from Ernest and Young to carry out an assessment on the restructuring plan and among the key recommendations in that NCPB should be split into two to create the commercial wing and the government services

"The purpose of restructuring is to ensure effective allocation of resources, tasks, responsibilities, authorities and accountabilities," says part of the report.

The change of name from NCPB to GCK is to re-brand the organization and make it fresh and more empowered to carry out its mandate effectively.

It recommends repeal NCPB Act by parliament so that NCPB can fully venture into business to make money and operate effectively instead of relying on government for funding.

"The aim is to make NCPB a viable institution beneficial to all stakeholders in serves," said Daniel Kamande who is the Manager of the restructuring project from Ernest and Youth. Acting CEO of the board Cornel Ngelechei was among top managers of the board who were present.

If the plan is implemented NCPB will be 80 percent private under the commercial wing while the government will run 20 percent of the boards operations. NCPB is proposed to have several commercial units Nafaka division, Warehouse Receipting division,

"It will own, manage, operate, develop and maintain grain handling and storage infrastructure," says the report.

Commercial services such as weigh-bridges, grain drying and cleaning.

The report by the experts identifies key weaknesses of the NCPB including poor funding and lack a proper institutional framework with capacity to carry out its mandates.

It recommends that the NCPB should run a Commodity Exchange system and also a Warehouse Receipting System to help farmers participate in determining the prices and markets for their produce.

Financial restructuring will also be carried out to make the board profitable and clear its debts.

Farmers present supported the restructuring but expressed fear that the board may be controlled by intrested people who will still manipulate farmers.

The report will also be presented to farmers in Nakuru and other regions before its adopted by all stakeholders for implementation by the government.

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