Four Jubilee Party MPs from the Rift Valley on Wednesday gave the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) until Monday to issue delayed payments worth Sh3.5 billion to maize farmers.
The lawmakers vowed to lead major anti-government protests from next week if the payments were not made.
MPs Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), Silas Tiren (Moiben), Joshua Kandie (Baringo Central) and Sammy Seroney (nominated) addressed the media at Parliament buildings highlighting the plight of many of their constituents.
“If by Monday the government will not have released the farmers’ dues, we will organize the mother of demonstrations in major towns in maize growing zones.
“We want to stand with the farmers and we will bring them to the streets of Kitale, Moi’s Bridge, Eldoret, Kapsabet, Nandi Hills, Nakuru and all other maize growing areas,” Keter asserted.
Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and his Agriculture counterpart Mwangi Kiunjuri had previously promised that the funds would be released on Monday this week.
Farmers, however, were left staring at empty bank accounts leading many to demand answers.
Their anger was further fueled by major scandals at the NCPB where connected traders were paid promptly for massive quantities of cheap, imported maize at their expense.
“The maize farmers are about to make drastic decisions that will not be good for the country.
“They are tired of being cheated that they will be paid for maize they delivered to NCBP last year and in January this year,” Tiren stated.
Keter alleged that there was a scheme to frustrate local farmers so as to allow cheap imports to thrive.
“We see this as a deliberate attempt to frustrate local farmers to create room for future maize imports. We saw the NCPB pay merchants and cartels, who imported and supplied maize from Mexico, Brazil, Uganda and Tanzania.
“They in fact got paid a day or two after deliveries yet farmers have never been paid,” he stated.