Cereals farmers in Trans Nzoia County have been challenged to use designated commercial grain storage facilities to preserve their produce before selling the commodities when market prices were favourable.
County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Agriculture Mrs Mary Nzomo, drummed support for the recently inaugurated Warehouse Receipt System (WRS), saying it would enable farmers to store their harvests in a conducive environment until market forces favour them.
Nzomo termed WRS as an effective initiative that enjoys immense support from the National Government through the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) as well as partners in the agriculture sector including the business community and financial institutions.
Through the initiative, grain farmers store their commodities at designated grain stores, which are certified by the NCPB and the department of Agriculture, where they are issued with receipts.
“The warehouse handlers ensure standards are adhered to by meeting the required moisture content as well as better packaging material used and only charge a meager fee for the service,” highlighted Nzomo during a meeting with the business community at Kitale Club.
She added: “Farmers then wait for favorable market conditions before picking their wares to resell thereby making better profits from their ventures unlike if they sold at harvest time.”
“With this, you get rid of brokers and middlemen who take advantage of the surplus to hoodwink farmers who have otherwise invested a lot by buying their produce at lower prices,” continued the Agriculture CEC.
At the same time, Nzomo informed traders interested in providing storage services officials at WRS, NCPB and agriculture who were planning to inspect the proposed warehouses to ascertain whether they meet the set storage capacity and preservation standards.
Her Public Service Management counterpart, Mrs Susan Nelima Murumba, lauded members of the business community in the County for offering job opportunities to thousands of youths.
Observing that national and devolved units lacked capacity to absorb everyone in the public service, Murumba said that partnerships with the private sector would help create more job opportunities.
Speaking to the same forum, Lands Planning and Housing CEC, Mr Boniface Wanyonyi, disclosed the department together with the Kitale Municipality was working towards ensuring a favourable business environment for both local and foreign investors.
He disclosed that through the Kenya Informal Settlement Programme (KISP) funded by the World Bank, Kipsongo, Mitume, Matisi and Shimo la Tewa slums had been mapped for face-lifting.
He explained the slums upgrading project will include road tarmacking and installation of street lights.
The business community was led by Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Trans-Nzoia Chapter Chairperson, Mr Martin Waliaula, who called on the county government to consider providing business incentives to motivate the traders.
“We are appealing to the County administration to foster cooperation with traders, by for instance allowing the traders tax holidays over the weekends,” he urged.
By Maurice Aluda