The Senate ad-hoc committee on the maize crisis is set to visit maize growing regions in the North Rift and Western Kenya regions to conduct an inquiry into the crisis in the country.
The Prof. Margaret Kamar-led committee will among other issues look into why farmers who delivered their produce to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) have not been paid when they tour Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Trans Nzoia, Bungoma and Busia counties September 13th and 17th.
The ad-hoc committee will hold meetings with various players in the maize sector as well as conduct hearings from the public as part of its public participation as it investigates the maize situation in the country.
The ad-hoc committee was established following a motion by the Senate on August 8th 2018that was necessitated by the current situation where the country continues to experience maize shortage due to high production costs, climate change and poor management of the strategic grain reserve.
The committee, which has 60 days to submit its findings to the senate, will also seek to establish the quantity of duty free maize imported into the country during the duty free period that was to end in October 2017, as well as establish the reasons why the period was extended.
Other areas the committee will look into include challenges facing the farmer and NCPB and how they could be resolved. It will also establish the amount of maize received by NCPB in 2017/18 season and the specific suppliers.
The committee will also seek to know the criteria used to identify millers and business people involved in the importation of maize into the country.
In their report, the committee will be expected to come up with legislative and regulatory proposals on how to address issues ailing NCPB and payment of farmers upon delivering their maize to the board.
It is also expected to propose how the national and county governments can collaborate on the management of the strategic grain reserve as per the constitution.
Management and distribution of seed and fertilizer subsidy to farmers will also form part of the committee’s investigation and report.
In its motion, the senate observed that little had been done to improve efficiency at NCPB and protect farmers from exploitation despite government commitment in supporting maize farmers to ensure food security.