National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) will start paying maize farmers who have delivered their harvest from mid-next week, the Agriculture ministry has announced.
On January 10, the president said NCPB would buy maize from farmers at Kshs. 2,500 for a 90kg bag. Yesterday, farmers in North Rift protested at the Eldoret NCPB depot.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri yesterday said farmers who have been vetted and supplied maize will start receiving payment by mid next week.
The government has so far purchased 62,000 50kg bags of maize valued at Sh86.1 million.
While appearing before the National Assembly Agriculture Committee on Monday, Kiunjuri admitted the vetting process is slow. But he said the ministry will not relax stringent measures to vet farmers.
Last year many big traders and unqualified sellers were paid before genuine farmers.
Cherangany MP Joshua Kuttuny said farmers are suffering because the vetting process is tedious, slow and requires them to produce titles deeds as proof of the acreage.
But in a rejoinder, Mr Kiunjuri said there will be no shortcuts; and that the same list of vetted farmers will be used next year.
The list will also be used in distribution of fertiliser stored at NCPB depots.
Mr Kiunjuri said they were compelled to introduce stringent measures to keep off unscrupulous traders and to avoid mistakes that have rocked NCPB since the government started buying maize from farmers.
Farmers are required to produce a national Identity card, PIN, title deed or lease agreement for vetting.