Police in Nyandarua County impounded two Lorries which were ferrying potatoes in outlawed bags contrary to the Crops (Irish Potatoes) Regulations 2019.
Confirming the interception, Ndaragwa police chief Nancy Jerobom said that the Lorries one carrying 150 bags and another 160 extended bags were intercepted along Nyeri – Nyahururu highway.
“The regulation states that the required weight of a potato bag should be 50 Kilograms but these two Lorries were carrying bags ranging from 60 to over70 Kilograms. We arrested four people including the drivers and will be arraigned in court for relevant charges”, Jerobom said
She further warned traders as well as farmers to follow the regulations to avoid facing penalties.
Speaking at the Ndaragwa police station just after impounding the two lorries, Hannah Njenga, Deputy Director of Agriculture in Nyandarua County said that each Sub County had put up weighing machine to assist farmers and traders package within the allowed limit.
“We shall procure more weighing machines so that everybody will know that potato bags should weigh 50 Kilograms”, she added.
The crackdown on farmers, traders and transporters flouting the new guideline is being spearheaded by a multi-agency team headed by the Agriculture and Food Authority – AFA.
Food Crops Director Beatrice Nyamwamwu said the team was targeting all major markets as well as potato growing counties to ensure that they comply with the law.
“We are working as a multi-agency, together with the police to enforce these laws”, she said.
The exercise in Nyandarua County comes after AFA last month launched a nationwide crackdown to ensure the new regulations were adhered to.
By the time of going to press over 1,000 extended bags of potatoes on transit were intercepted and seized from eight vehicles at various road blocks.
According to AFA, the crackdown will extend to Nakuru, Nairobi, Narok, Mombasa and other potato planting counties including major markets.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya gazette the regulations in May 2019 and the value chain players found contravening the regulations risk tough penalties of either a fine of Ksh 500,000 or 1 year jail term or both.
By Wangari Ndirangu