Farmers advised on how to beat broker exploitation.

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The National Cerials and Produce Board (NCPB) chairman on Tuesday 16 March advised Kenyan farmers to embrace the Warehouse Receipt System (WRS) to save themselves from exploitation by brokers who buy their produce at throw-away prices immediately after the harvest.

The chair, Mr. Mutea Iringo while addressing farmers’ representatives, financial institutions, and the county government among other stakeholders in Nakuru said that through the new system, farmers will now be able to store their produce till prices play by their favor. He went ahead to explain that farmers who have already embraced the system are to access bank loans against receipts issued for the goods stored in control warehouses.

The Warehouse Receipt System bill was in 2020 signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta thus providing a legal framework for the development and governance of the system. The Act provides for the establishment of a system whereby; warehouse receipts will be issued by licensed warehouses to depositors upon delivery of agricultural commodities produced in the country.

“The receipt is proof of ownership. The document can be used as collateral to get a bank loan,” said the chair.

Iringo said that the board established six testing labs in Meru, Kitale, Nakuru, Machakos, Nairobi and Eldoret to get rid of aflatoxin menace and three more to be established in Narok, Bungoma and Migori counties. He also added that the Board was a participant in the E-Voucher Inputs Programme that enables farmers use a mobile phone platform to access fertilizers and pay 60 per cent of the cost incurred with the rest footed by the government.

Mr. Iringo went ahead to highlight a number of benefits from WRS among them being to curb value chain inefficiencies, reduce post- harvest losses that are at 30 per cent, improve commodity storage and increase financial earnings to traders, farmers and service providers in the agricultural sector.

“These systems enable producers to delay the sale of their products until after harvest to a moment when prices are generally more favorable,” he claimed.

During the same occasion, the NCPB chair displayed fears that the State Corporation was on its death bed due to a Sh7-billion debt with the Kenya Commercial Bank. He claimed that the treasury CS, the Agriculture CS and the bank are on the verge of resolving the debt that is currently attracting an interest rate of Sh110 million per month.

“The three parties have arranged for a joint meeting in the coming weeks. The debt arose from a loan taken five years ago by NCPB to buy subsidized fertilizers for farmers, NCPB is more vibrant and stable than ever despite the loan that attracts Sh3 million on daily basis as interest,” he affirmed.