Big win for rice farmers as Governor Waiguru hosts President Kenyatta
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has secured immense development deals for Mwea farmers following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to the county last weekend. From now onwards, the government will buy paddy from the rice farmers at Ksh. 85 up from Ksh. 60 that brokers have been offering them.
The offer comes as great relief to farmers who have for a long time suffered losses due to low prices offered by brokers as well as cheap rice imports. Governor Waiguru made her people’s wish list to the President at Wang’uru Stadium where the main focus was the rice farmer, whose mainstay is growing paddy at Mwea Rice Irrigation Scheme. She appealed for the president’s intervention on rice prices and subsidized fertilizers for rice farmers.
The President said that the Kenya National Trading Cooperation (KNTC) will be buying rice from the farmers and then sell it to public institutions such as schools, prisons, police and army barracks who have been instructed to consume only locally grown rice. The farmers will then be directly paid through their cooperatives.
Cheap rice imports have been blamed for poor prices offered for locally grown rice, despite the low quality of the imported one. With government institutions now ordered to buy local rice, imports will be reduced even as Governor Waiguru appeals for more levies to be imposed on imported rice to discourage importation hence create more demand for local rice.
All rice farmers will also fairly benefit from subsidized fertilizers unlike before when distribution of such subsidy was skewed towards benefiting a few people. Governor Waiguru noted that genuine farmers have been missing out on the subsidized fertilizers since it was bought by unscrupulous people who then sold it to farmers at exorbitant prices. She appealed to the president to ensure that the subsidized fertilizer was sold to farmers depending on their farm acreage; a matter that the Head of State said has been picked by the Cabinet Secretary for Agricuture.
Apart from the President’s intervention, Governor Anne Waiguru also highlighted a lineup of multimillion shillings processing factories that the county will be establishing. The Governor said that she had secured donor funding that will be used for construction of a tomato processing factory, a rice husk factory, a horticulture pack house and a milk processing plant.
Governor Waiguru said that through the rice husk factory, farmers will be able to make extra earnings from the byproducts that they normally burn. The husks will be used to make boards that will be used to make furniture. The Governor said that apart from increasing profitability to farmers and growing the local economy, the factories will create employment for thousands of local residents.
Governor Waiguru thanked President Uhuru for the interventions which she said would directly impact on the local people and expressed faith in the newly appointed Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Peter Munya, when it comes to reviving the agricultural sector.