The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) should focus more on addressing the myriad of challenges faced by farmers in the country, Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria has said.
He said the agricultural sector has for long time been rocked by massive corruption, leaving many farmers to languish in poverty.
Speaking when he met thousands of avocado farmers in Kandara Thursday, the governor observed that the BBI report should address the plight of farmers countrywide, especially minimal returns occasioned by corruption in marketing of their farm produce.
He said brokers who have invaded agricultural sector should be removed forthwith so that farmers can enjoy better prices for their crops.
“Farmers in this country suffer a lot. The sector is marred with massive corruption and rarely do we hear people talking rampant fraud in the sector,” he said.
The BBI should propose formation of National Farmers Income Commission, a body which will ensure farmers’ returns are protected, he added.
“We need to have an income commission for farmers the way we have salaries remuneration commission. The body will advocate for minimum guaranteed prices especially for main cash crops in the country,” said Wa Iria.
Currently, he said farmers have been left at the mercy of buyers especially brokers who use every trick to exploit them by buying their produce at throw away prices.
He stated that the commission if established, would come up with ways to ensure farmers earn more from the produce and also get farm inputs at reasonable prices.
“We are not very much concerned with the creation of positions in the executive, what we want is to ensure farmers predicament was well addressed by rewarding their efforts through better prices,” he said.
Meanwhile, the governor said the formula on distribution of resources should be changed to consider the number of people in every area of representation.
Wa Iria was emphatic that funds should be shared according to number of people in every county, constituency or any other area of representation.
“Some areas receive a lot of allocation despite them having small population. Areas with millions of people should get more allocations so as to offer quality services to the people,” he added.
At the same time, areas with big population should be well represented in parliament and people’s interest should be considered before the final BBI report is drafted, added the governor.
One of members of BBI secretariat Dr. Stephen Karau said issues raised by Murang’a residents will be factored in the final report.
Karau urged Kenyans to read the BBI report before making more decisions saying very few people have shown interest on reading it.
“We have embarked on capturing people’s interest to guide if there will be any need for amendment of the constitution or a referendum,” he added.
By Bernard Munyao
Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria addressing farmers in a meeting held at Matenjangwa grounds in Kandara on Thursday February 27, 2020. Photo by Bernard Munyao