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Food shortage "created by government"

25 January 2012, 18:14 Michael Wesonga

The Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers (KENSAP) officials in the North Rift have accused the government of economic sabotage.

The federation says the government has created artificial food shortage through well-coordinated underground corruption networks.

Through its chairman, Joseph Ngaah the federation has complained of the government’s delay in disbursing funds to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) for buying of maize.

“The government has the necessary data on food required and food produced through the Planning and Agriculture Ministry’s respectively and therefore in a proper position to store up food reserves matching the country’s needs, which is not the case,” he said.

Ngaah, who was speaking to County Weekly, accused the government of deliberately and constantly of either delaying disbursement of funds, or disbursing inadequate funds on time to buy cereals.

The delay obligates farmers to sell their produce, especially maize at throw away prices to agents working in cohorts with highly powered syndicate connected to government operatives.

He said the syndicate hoards the maize to be sold at inflated prices in times of scarcity and even export the maize at high prices.

“The same persons approach the government when we have a total scarcity and seek to be granted permission to import maize from within Comesa tax free in turn denying the government much needed foreign currency,” he said.

The Lugari farmers are now concerned because they have lots of arable land and recorded a bumper harvest but will still be forced to go through the usual artificial cycle.

In addition they say, the government is denying small-scale farmers prompt access to necessary farm inputs in preparation for the next planting season.

“This translates to reduced acreage of cultivated land, less production and less income and automatically, poor sale of farm produce.

Recently trans-Nzoia farmers also placed government on the spotlight for delaying is disbursing funds to the NCPB to buy their produce.

Most farmers in the country have in the recent past expressed dissatisfaction in the manner in which the government responds to the issue of food security in the country.

The farmers who have gone unheard have been forced to incur storage costs over delays by government to buy their produce and at times forced to hoard the produce for sell at a later date owing to low buying prices.

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