The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)with the County of Taita Taveta to establish an agro – inputs and agricultural products business centre.
The ‘Timbila’ depot in Taveta Sub-County. Will be able to facilitate easy access of affordable agro-inputs by farmers and also provide a ready market to their agricultural produce.
In a press release today, the Managing Director of NCPB, Joseph Kimote said that the business centre to be established under the MoU is aligned to the agriculture hub model that NCPB is required to operate under the Reforms.
“The hub will be a one stop shop for farmers to access farm inputs, financial services, extension services, post-harvest management solutions and link farmers to markets”, he added.
The MoU, Kimote said defines the areas of cooperation which will include provision of pesticides certified seeds, various types of fertilizers, and fumigation services.
In addition, he reiterated that the Board will provide a market outlet for farmers through the purchase of agricultural produce such as paddy, green grams and beans from farmers in the area and that both parties will invest jointly in agricultural innovation and value addition programmes.
“This partnership is in the spirit of the Constitution of Kenya which devolved agriculture to the counties, and also supports the achievement of the Food and Nutrition Security Pillar of the Big Four Agenda” Kimote said.
Taita Taveta County Secretary Mr. Liverson Mghendi, said that the County intends to leverage on NCPB’s expertise and experience in grain post-harvest management.
He added that the collaboration will enable their farmers gain knowledge on good post-harvest management from NCPB and with the introduction of Warehouse Receipt System (WRS) in the country, their farmers can store their grain in NCPB stores as they wait for prices to appreciate, then sell later.
“Our farmers get bumper harvests from time to time but they lack storage facilities and so they are forced to sell their grain at throwaway prices. But by working with NCPB, farmers will not have to rush to sell”. He said.
The partnership will help the county reduce on grain post-harvest losses hence boost food security and also benefit Taita Taveta farmers by ensuring that they access farm inputs from NCPB, in good time and throughout the year.
The new reforms in the Agriculture sector has seen the Strategic Food Reserve (SFR) function placed under NCPB as a new division called National Food Reserves (NFR).
This division will be in charge of food security and will deal with all matters pertaining to the Strategic food Reserve such as managing the Strategic Food Reserve fund, it will collect data and undertake market intelligence (research) and monitor food prices.
The NFR stocks will comprise maize, rice, beans, powdered milk, canned beef and fish.
The other division under NCPB Trading division which will run all the Board’s commercial functions with the current being trading commercially in commodities such as fertilizer and cereals together with leasing of storage space and warehousing.
By Wangari Ndirangu