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Committee formed to address challenges facing rice farmers in Mwea

Mwea MP Kabinga Wachira has established a local Irrigation Scheme Management Committee that will be addressing challenges facing rice farmers in the area.

He said upon being elected to Parliament in 2017, he was aware of the myriads of problems the rice farmers were faced with and hence   quickly moved in to ensure the oppressive Irrigation Act Cap 247 was scrapped off.

The first-time MP said the National Irrigation Board had continued to use the oppressive legislation and hence it became incumbent upon him to ensure the Act was scrapped off.

Speaking at various stops in the area when he disbursed Uwezo Fund cheques, Wachira asked the County leadership to stop politicising the scheme.

“I am aware some farmers unaware the NIB does not answer to the local Assembly have petitioned for it over the problems they experience but I must tell them it is the National Assembly that has the mandate to listen to and address their plight, “he said.

The Legislator said the National Assembly can summon the Water and Agriculture Cabinet Secretaries whose dockets are directly linked to the rice farming to respond to queries the farmers might raise.

“We are now working out on regulations and formulation on policies that will guide   this committee we have since formed and any queries will from now on be directed to it (committee),”he said.

He clarified that under no circumstance does the area County Assembly have a role in the affairs of the scheme and as such the MCAs should understand the NIB was not a devolved function.

“I am therefore urging the farmers to be directing all their petitions to the newly established working committee which will have the capacity and ability to handle such queries and petitions, “he said.

Last month some local MCAs caused a stir at the scheme when they toured the vast scheme and attempted to seek for views from the farmers before they were forcibly ejected by farmers from the area.

The Assembly Majority Leader Kamau Murango and his Finance and Budget Committee chairman David Mathenge were in that team.

Wachira at the same time has cautioned the County Assembly to stop interfering with the management of the rice scheme in Mwea.

He said the Assembly should rather come up with policies to assist the farmers with farm inputs instead of trying to undo what has already been achieved in the scheme.

“I am surprised that instead of the MCAs coming up with ways and means of assisting the farmers with inputs, they are only making noise and fighting with the county executive over issues they can easily solve” Wachira said.

He said Mwea farmers are alert and won’t allow any local politics to interfere with the growing of the rice which is the mainstay of the region.

By Irungu Mwangi

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