The Government has announced plans to revive the Warehouse Receipt System (WRS).
State Department for Trade Principal Secretary (PS) Alfred K’Ombudo says the system is key in the Government’s bid to enhance productivity.
Speaking while on a visit to Uasin Gishu to take stock of warehouses that are certified, the PS said strengthening the WRS will go a long way towards ensuring farmers have access to well-sorted storage facilities that will help reduce post-harvest losses.
“We want to have a conversation with institutions such as the National cereals and produce board (NCPB) and other stakeholders to expand services to farmers through certified warehouses that assure safe grain storage, and farmers’ produce reaches the market safely, and farmers can access financial products using what they have stored in the warehouses,” said the PS at the Eldoret NCPB depot.
“Using Warehouse Receipting System, which we’re looking to revamp, will allow farmers to have access to financial tools early enough as they wait for better prices; the system will also allow access to safe storage that is graded and sorted,” added K’Ombudo.
The PS further said the Government will team up with several stakeholders so as to increase the number of stores that provide the WRS. “We are keen to expand the availability of certified warehouses for the WRS across the country in order to offer farmers the service on a more wholesome basis”.
He noted that safe storage of grains in certified warehouses leads to better access to the market, and the quality of the Unga and other by products that get onto our plates, says the PS.
During the visit, the PS was accompanied by Uasin Gishu County Commissioner Dr. Eddyson Nyale, the county Acting Chief Officer for Agriculture Reuben Seroney, and the acting County Cooperatives Commissioner Rosylne Rae.
The PS also visited Mateeny Soy farmers’ cooperative society where he encouraged farmers to form and join cooperatives societies in order to benefit from affordable farm inputs and better prices for their produce.
“Cooperatives are the way to go, pooling together will enable farmers to negotiate for cheaper farm inputs from the supplier through their cooperative as well as a source for better prices for their produce in the market,” said the PS.
Mateeny Soy farmers’ cooperative Society has partnered with a private investor, AFEX, to manage a store that was constructed by the national government at a cost of Sh 40million to provide storage for farmers in the area.
According to its chairman Dr Joel Tenai the partnership with AFEX enabled 215 farmers to access farm inputs worth Sh22m last year including fertilizer, maize seed, and farm chemicals.
“AFEX came in at a time when there was desperation among farmers, most of whom were not sure of planting last season due to the high cost of farm inputs, but the intervention of the investor ensured the farm inputs were availed to the farmer on credit, for the farmer to pay after harvest. This increased maize production in our area,” explained the chairman.
He added that AFEX has this year bought and stored 8,800 bags of 90kg bags of maize from local farmers, ensuring better returns to the farmer.
By Kiptanui Cherono