Embu County Assembly orders report on makadamia farming tabled
Embu macadamia farmers might soon get relief after their woes regarding marketing the unprocessed product outside the county made their way to the County Assembly floor.
Temporary Speaker Ngari Makenge directed the Assembly Committee on Agriculture to table a comprehensive report within one week detailing what is ailing the macadamia industry and propose remedies to the County Executive in a bid to address the current marketing crisis.
The speaker was reacting to a question by Nominated MCA Susan Wangai who claimed that the Salesio Kimaru-led agriculture committee was not doing enough to alleviate the suffering of macadamia farmers whom she said were being exploited by local processors.
She lamented the low prices farmers had to contend with, saying anybody who had earlier tried to sell the unprocessed crop outside the county was either suffering in jail or fighting for their freedom in courts of law because of faulty legislations, yet they had every right to sell their produce to the highest bidder.
Wangai further told the House that she had sought a statement on the same issue over a year ago, before the crisis escalated, but said that the Agriculture Committee had been adamant to address the issues she raised on behalf of the helpless farmers.
She demanded that the County Executive Committee member for Agriculture be summoned to the Assembly to field questions from MCAs as a first step in addressing the plight of the macadamia farmers.
Makenge, however, ruled that since the matter was before the Agriculture Committee and failed to meet the threshold of having the cabinet chief concerned summoned to answer questions at the floor of the Assembly, only a textual report by the committee would be adopted.
On his part, Kimaru, who is also the MCA for Kyeni South, pledged to table a report on the matter next Tuesday, but was quick to point out that the problem stemmed from the lack of a Macadamia Policy in the county.
He said he had tried to no avail to have Governor Martin Wambora and his cabinet revise the ‘grossily faulty’ policy so that the macadamia industry can be streamlined to give farmers best prices and marketing practices.
Yesterday, macadamia nut farmers in Matunduri, Manyatta Constituency in Embu County on Monday (27th February 2017) staged a demonstration over the arrest of a foreign investor who is a buyer of their product.
According to the farmers, the arrest of the Chinese Investor was instigated by cartels in Meru County who see him as a threat because he buys macadamia nuts from the farmers at a higher price.
The investor buys a kilo of the nuts at Ksh100, something that has not gone down well with the ‘cartels’ who would like to buy the product at a cheaper price for them to benefit more at the expense of farmers.
A section of politicians from the county have since supported the residents, vowing to help get the investor released and his business to continue as usual without threats.
Embu Senator and gubernatorial aspirant, Lenny Kivuti, condemned the arrest and promised farmers a better market for their products when he is elected as governor in the coming polls.
“I will make sure that the rights of farmers in the county have been improved greatly because we want everybody to be rich and not a few people,” Kivuti said.
Edited By Erick Kombo