Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS), Peter Munya, has underscored the role that the National Cereal and Produce Board (NCPB) play in the implementation of reforms in the national food value chain that were initiated in May 2020.
The CS noted that one of the reforms on post-harvest management, contributes towards national food security and therefore NCPB is critical, especially in the implementation and success of the Warehouse Receipt System (WRS) in the country
In a speech read on his behalf during the launch of NCPB ISO Certification by Principal Secretary (PS), Hamadi Boga, the CS noted that the Ministry-initiated reforms to address challenges the Board was facing as it discharged its mandate.
“The reforms were institutionalised by the establishment of the National Food Reserves, entrenchment of the Food Balance Sheet Committee and revamping of NCPB’s commercial trading activities,” Munya said.
He noted that the Ministry has been closely monitoring implementation of the reforms through a Technical Committee which was established, adding that there is notable progress and success in the implementation of the reforms as directed by the Cabinet.
CS, however, acknowledged there remain certain critical components of the reforms, which require inter-ministerial engagement between the Ministry and the National Treasury.
“The strengthening of governance structures and business process re-engineering, we have witnessed at the NCPB, have enabled the organisation to perform its mandate with minimal challenges,” he said.
Munya congratulated NCPB for achieving the Certification under KS: 2657 Standard, saying it was a first step towards raising standards in maintenance of quality in grain management and improving on service delivery.
The CS, however, challenged the NCPB Board of Directors and its Management to keep up the momentum by ensuring they maintain high standards, as they drive the reform agenda.
The two initiatives, he added, will bear the desired fruits so that they can efficiently serve wananchi and its other stakeholders.
Agriculture Principal Secretary (PS), Prof Hamadi Boga, said the government has cleared more than 75 per cent of the debt owed to National Cereal and Produce Board (NCPB), largely on grain handling and pertaining to maize.
“The rest of the money owed on fertiliser is in the process of being paid and that the Ministry is in discussion with the National Treasury to allocate the funds,” he added.
Speaking on the side-lines after the launch of new standard ISO 9001:2015 Certification in Nairobi, today, Boga said NCPB is at a better place now and the government is determined to complete the payments.
“NCPB is now a commercial entry and we have cleared most of the debt so they are free to trade in terms of purchasing for maize and also in supporting other operations with what they have,” he said.
As at the end of last year, the NCPB had been owed debts to the tune of Sh18.1 billion by Government agencies which had been incurred over years for grain handling services and other amenities.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS), Peter Munya, in March this year had confirmed that the NCPB board required Sh 132.7 million to finance recruitment of professional staff, to support the defunct National Food Research and trading divisions and hosting Food Balance Sheet Committee.
Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) Managing Director, Bernard Njiraini, said the Quality management system for NCPB is a tool that is going to assist the organisation achieve their objectives in terms of improvement of their performance and achieve better efficiency and get better customer satisfaction.
“As a national standard body, the top most priority is to ensure that we set systems or help organisations set systems to be able to ensure food security and food safety,” he said.
NCPB Managing Director, Joseph Kimote, said the Board has come a long way and with the support of the government has undertaken various projects and initiatives and managed to record major milestones and achievements in the recent past.
“There is improved service delivery, well refurbished infrastructure and a more motivated workforce whose major drive is ruthless focus on results, aimed at positioning the Board as a key player in the food sector.
He noted, the ISO 9001:2015, the Board has received will see them maintain the standard and ensure that all the quality objectives are met.
“The new standard ISO 9001:2015 is more robust and provides more benefits to the organisation and with one of the key ISO standard’s objectives being to promote efficiency and enhance customer satisfaction,” Kimote said.
The MD said that currently NCPB has approximately 712, 000 bags of maize in depots across the country, both in the conventional stores and also in the silos.
Kimote explained that the maize is available for sale to any miller, it is clean and free from aflatoxin.
The MD invited those who want to purchase quality maize to go to any NCPB stores across the country and place their orders.
By Wangari Ndirangu