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Don’t fall into traps of unscrupulous brokers, Macadamia farmers captioned

Macadamia farmers have been cautioned over falling to traps of unscrupulous brokers who are defying the government’s directive on the set prices for the nuts.

Officials of the Nuts Traders Association of Kenya have claimed that some buyers were buying a kilo of macadamia nuts below Sh100 which was against the directive by the Ministry of Agriculture.

In November last year, the Ministry of Agriculture suspended Section 43 of Crops Act of 2013 thus allowing selling of raw macadamia nuts.

The suspension of the Act was aimed at increasing prices of the nuts which had gone down to about Sh20 per kilo.

One of the set conditions for the suspension of the law was to ensure a farm gate price for a kilo of macadamia was not below Sh100.

On Tuesday, while meeting macadamia farmers in parts of Kandara, the association’s chairman Johnson Kihara claimed that there were some brokers who were going against the directive of the government and offering prices below the set amount.

He said the price of macadamia has gone up after lifting exportation of raw macadamia hence no farmer should be paid less than Sh100 per kilo.

“I am warning all the brokers, especially those who supply macadamia factories, to stop taking advantage of the farmers. They should not buy macadamia at prices which disadvantage the farmers. I have talked to macadamia farmers in several counties and they have all agreed that they shall not be selling their produce to brokers at lower prices,” said Kihara.

The chairman further said suspension of Section 43 of the Crops Act 2013 for one year may not have a lasting solution in the sector saying the law should be repealed.

He noted that countries especially from the Far East considered buying raw macadamia since they got more value than buying already processed macadamia.

“Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi should know that Section 43 of Crops Act 2013 oppresses the farmer, and we urge this law to be done away with and allow the exportation of raw macadamia. The suspension of the law is just a short-term relief,” he remarked.

Echoing his words, Murang’a CEC for Trade, Industrialization, and Tourism Paul Kimani Mugo noted repealing of the law would enable the farmers to sell their produce at a competitive price in the international markets thus reducing the oppression by unscrupulous brokers.

“Murang’a county administration is in agreement with farmers requesting the national government to intervene on Section 43 of the Crops Act 2013 so that we can liberalize the macadamia industry, such that the farmer can sell their produce at a competitive price,” he said.

To protect farmers from unscrupulous brokers, the leaders called on the County government to support the farmers by building for them macadamia dryers

According to the chairman of the Kariua Cooperative Society Julius Mwangi, the dryers would add value to their produce and double the price for a kilo of the nuts, while also creating employment for the youths in Murang’a.

“To double the price of a kilo of macadamia to Sh200, the County government should establish dryers so that value addition can be done there. This will not only benefit the farmers but also reduce the unemployment in the county,” said Mwangi.

By Bernard Munyao and Anjilwa Francis  

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