To safeguard farmers and traders from exploitative businessmen and to increase the Own Source Revenue (OSR), the Tana River County Government is constructing two weighbridges and markets at a cost of Sh 120 million.
The Department of Trade is planning to utilise the money to revive the Bura market and construct new markets in Madogo and Kipini and also do weighbridges.
“As a Ministry, we are also responsible for the unit of weights and measures. We have started plans to build a weighbridge on the Bangale side and have also built one in the Hurara area on the Garsen – Malindi road,” said Elisha Buya, Director of the Department of Trade.
Elisha noted that the objective of the weighbridges is to protect and safeguard the interests of Tana River farmers, who have been exploited over the years by unscrupulous middlemen.
He said, “Why we build these weighbridges is to improve and protect our traders in terms of weights and measures, so that they use measures that have been approved by the government,”
Mangoes farmers who have been estimating the weight of their produce by counting single pieces, he said, will benefit from the weighbridges. “As in the case of mangoes, we expect people not to count five or four mangoes, saying it is one kilogram. The weighing bridges will verify for them’’.
Meanwhile, the Director advised farmers to form SACCOs and cooperatives based on a vision and goals, to pull their resources together and for the government to invest in them.
“We urge the people of Tana to join cooperatives. Each Sub-county should have its own cooperative. It will be easier for the government to find and support them whether it is a capacity-building or capital investment,’’ said the Director.
He went on, “The problem facing our cooperatives is poor management; we elect leaders who have no vision or form cooperatives based on acquaintance. The goal of a cooperative is to bring partners with a common vision.’’
“Farmers’ Cooperative for example, members should be farmers’ not just individuals and their community who are interested in making money,” added Elisha.
By Sadik Hassan