June 2018 BusinessDaily;
The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) is holding 984,102 bags of maize worth nearly Sh3.1 billion that is unfit for human consumption in the wake of a scandal that saw the agency pay fake farmers billions of shillings.
A report, acting NCPB managing director Joseph Liguko tabled in Parliament shows that 1,551,027 bags of maize purchased at Moi’s Bridge silo and 220,358 bags bought at Kisumu silos were moulding with high heat and insect damage.
The 1.771 million bags of maize are in 50-kilogramme bags but the State bought 90-kilogramme bags at Sh3,200 each from the farmers.
This puts the unfit 90-kilogramme bags at 984,102 worth Sh3.1 billion based on the State purchase price.
Millers reckon that the bad maize can only be used in making animal feeds, arguing that it was not fit for milling.
“The results of the analysis were that the bottom was infested while the top was moulding.
The maize was last fumigated in April 2018 and sprayed in March 2018,” said acting internal audit manager A. Njoroge on the findings of maize purchased in Moi’s Bridge.
In Kisumu, the internal audit shows that the bottom silo was noted to have high heat damage as well as high temperatures while the top silo bins had high heat and insect damage as well as mouldy with a moisture content of 16.4 per cent.
In Bungoma silo, the audit team says the purchased maize was found to be wet in several bins but the silo was drying the maize.
The silo received 337,355 bags of maize from 25 farmers worth Sh593.3 million.
The moulding could see the maize get infected by the deadly aflatoxin, which is linked to liver cancer.
According to Food and Agriculture Organisation, aflatoxins are poisonous carcinogens that are produced by certain moulds which grow in soil, decaying vegetation, hay, and grains.
The NCPB manages the food reserve stocks, which entails purchasing, storage, distribution, maintenance and disposal as instructed by Agriculture PS.
The board is supposed to buy maize from farmers but went ahead to buy the grains from traders who acquired the commodity in Uganda.
The suspected interference of the weighbridges used to detect the number of kilos brought in by traders at the NCPB depots may also have led the government into declaring the quantity of maize that it does not have.
The State bought six million bags are valued at Sh11.6 billion in the current financial year ending this month.
However, the government has so far paid only Sh8.1 billion with farmers demanding the remaining Sh3.6 billion.