Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sipili strides closer to Cereal Banking

By Bett Kipsang’

Mr. Kanyugo receives a certificate  for warehouse operators
 Farmers in Sipili will soon store their cereals in a warehouse and use a receipt as security for bank loans. This emerged from a sensitization meeting organized by the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) and the Sipili cereal bank. 

The method known as warehouse receipting system enables stores, certified by EAGC to issue receipts to farmers upon receiving the cereals. The system will cushion farmers from losses due to low prices during harvest and the rush to sell produce to meet basic financial needs. 

Speaking during the meeting, Jane wanza, an EAGC officer said that the process of certifying the Sipili Cereal Bank was in advanced stage. Maize and other cereals banked in the store can attract international buyers as well as meeting the needs of farmers in case of food shortage. 

In attendance was the local leaders among them one chief and two assistant chiefs for Wangwache location, Kaharati and Dincom sub-locations among others. The Divisional Agriculture officers and ALIN’s staff were also present and had a chance to talk to farmers about their contributions to towards marketing of farm produce. ALIN is implementing, Sokopepe an online market access project in the area.  

The meeting was called to sensitize stakeholders about the certification of the Sipili cereal bank so that farmers are prepared to benefit from the initiative. The cereal bank was started in the year 2000, by the Catholic Men’s Association to address issues of food insecurity. 

Joseph Mwati the cereal bank chair receiving a certificate
Steps to enable farmers in the area access better prices are in their advanced stagesi. Mr. Kamau the DAEO for Sipili said that Laikipia Produce and Marketing Cooperative Society has received an agency certificate to sell certified seeds to farmers.

Kamua urged farmers to ensure that soils from their farms are tested to determine the kind of fertilizer to be used. The DAEO lamented that the season has seen a drop in maize production from the expected (222,500) bags to (112,500). The drop is attributed to poor farm management and lack of access to planting materials by farmers.

Jane wanza urged farmers to buy and plant genuine seeds instead of taking shortcuts by using cheap none certified seeds. Jane further clarified that good handling procedures must be adhered to and that access to better markets starts from planting in the right way through proper management to post harvest handling. 

‘‘Poor handling of maize exposes the cereal to aflatoxin which causes liver cancer and death’’ she said. Four warehouse handlers who were trained by EAGC were issued with certificates and the organization promised to organize more training for farmers.  

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