Government to ensure rice farmers are paid on time

Mwea rice farmers will have their dues from this year’s crop paid by latest February next year , according to a government agent.

The Kenya National Trading Corporation (KNTC),  Managing Director  Pamela Mutua already the farmers have been paid Sh 500 million for the  ended season .

“We have already paid the farmers Sh 500 million for the   last season while  a balance of Sh 200 million is due  soonest possible ,”she assured the farmers.

Mutua  was responding  to cries  from the farmers who  told the  Agriculture CS  Peter  Munya when he visited them this morning that it was  taking almost a year before they were paid despite having delivered their produce for marketing to  the corporation.

 

Munya said the Sh 85 per kilogram of paddy rice President Uhuru Kenyatta had announced two years ago still stood while many other measures including subsidised farm inputs would be availed in an effort to lower  production costs down to meaningful  levels .

The CS said the government had  asked  importers of the crop not to over import when  the  one  produced  in  Mwea was still held  in their stores .

Munya also assured the growers that this year’s  crop would not be destroyed by the perennial querea querea boards which migrate into the scheme whenever the grain reached  maturity stage .

“We have requested the Treasurer to ensure funds for buying  spray chemicals to destroy these birds were available on time to avoid massive losses of the grain crop, as it happened   last season ,”Munya said.

Other measures in place to improve productivity of the crop was the ongoing construction of the Thiba mega dam which  upon completion will provide irrigation water enough for  two crops per year instead of the current one dependent on rainfall.

“The contractor has given an undertaking that come the long rains next April, the dam will be filed up in readiness for the  farmers to start growing two crops per  year without any further dependency on rain fed agriculture ,”the CS told the farmers .

He also  assured the farmers that the government had mandated the KNTC to  ensure  all its institutions bought their rice requirements from the area which was of high quality compared to the imported  and cheap  varieties .

The scheme has also started to produce Kwamboka variety which is high yielding, early maturing and equally aromatic just like the popular pishori  and which the local farmers are being encouraged to grow .

The  National Irrigation Authority (NIA),  Chairman Joshua Toro who was present recalled  how when he was an opposition  MP fought  the then National Irrigation Board (NIB), alongside the area MP Alfred Nderitu to bring about the reforms farmers were now enjoying .

He said the struggle to bring about the reforms the farmers required in order to free themselves from the oppression by the Board was  an uphill task more so  since the Kanu regime was   still firmly holding on into the scheme .

“I could not imagine that one day I would be appointed to chair  the NIA Board  and stand in front of you as am doing today in this capacity and I can only now assure you of even more  better things to come ,”he said.

The official told  the farmers their issues  were more represented after their own Water Users Association  Chairman Morris Mutugi had been incorporated into NIA as one of its Board Member.


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