Leaders in Trans Nzoia want the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) and the newly formed Strategic Food Reserve (SFR) establishment for failing in their manadates.
Speaking during Jamhuri Day Celebrations in Makutano, Cherangany constituency , Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba and Cherangany Member of Parliament Joshua Kuttuny also demanded the removal of Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago from chairing the taskforce on Maize crisis.
Kuttuny claimed that Governor Mandago was unfit to chair the taskforce because he appeared to have lost interest in maize farming after he was reported to have urged farmers to diversify to other crops instead of resolving their impending challenges.
He asked president Uhuru Kenyatta to revoke his appointed since he no longer served the interest of the maize farmers after he told them to abandon the crop and venture into Avocado farming to fetch better prices.
Kuttuny argued that Governor Manadago had lost focus and could not be trusted with the position but was also critical of the membership of the newly formed Strategic Food Reserve which he said should be scrapped as it lacked leadership who could represent the interest of maize farmers.
He singled out Dr. Noah Wekesa who he claimed that despite being the chairman of SFR, was fighting for the interests of sugarcane farmers at the expense of maize farmers because he had long switched from maize to cane farming.
Governor Khaemba said the task force wasted most of their time in boardroom meetings in Nairobi and was yet to hit the ground as maize farmers desperately waited for solutions to the ailing sector.
He asked the Head of State to release the report forwarded by the task force and call for a revolution in the maize sector. He backed calls for the scrapping of SFR and NCPB on the basis that those institutions were infiltrate by the very cartels that were fleecing Kenyans their monies.
Khaemba said a new institution should be established to replace the NCPB and the SFR but their composition must include the input of the county governments in order to represent the wishes of the poor farmers.
He said investment in the production of maize had become an expensive venture to farmers after they incurred huge losses in successive seasons due poor management of the sector..
Khaemba asked Mandago to stop misleading farmers to drop maize farming arguing that such a move was not tenable and beat logic noting that it was unrealistic for the government to “efficiently manage a long seasonal crop like avocado when it failed to do so to a short seasonal crop like maize”.
Kuttuny insisted that Cherangany people entirely relied on maize farming for a living and to educate their children pointing out that failure by the government to find a solution will deal a big blow.
He announced his intention to present the president with a petition to resolve the maize prices crisis.
By Moses Wekesa