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Horticultural farmers in Kirinyaga protest exploitation by middlemen

Horticultural farmers in Kirinyaga have cried foul over exploitation by middlemen who they say are milking them dry.


The farmers including tomatoes, French beans and others have complained of the unscrupulous traders who buy their wares at throw away price only to make a kill in other markets like Nairobi.


“We want to know what happened of the bill our Mwea Member of Parliament Kabinga Wachira said he was to take to parliament,” said Njeru Njagi a tomato farmer from Kangai ward.


Kabinga sometimes went through the county promising farmers that he was to introduce a bill in parliament that would outlaw selling of horticultural crops like tomatoes using crates.


He told the farmers that the bill would specify that traders will be forced to use weighing machines when buying their produce, rather than creates which was exploitive to the farmers.


“The use of weighing machines will be a big advantage to the farmers since they will receive that actual value of their crop,” Wachira said.


“We do not want empty promises from our leaders, we want to know what happened of the Bill or what stage it is in parliament since such a law will go a long way in alleviating our suffering as Kirinyaga farmers,” said another farmer from Kagio.


The farmers said they vote leaders to address their plight including challenges they face in their farming and marketing of their produce.


“Kabinga must now wake up and fight like his colleagues in Nyandarua who made sure exploitation of farmers who grow Irish potatoes came to an end,” he said.


Middle men would buy the commodity in extended bags and later repackaged the bags in 50 Kilos before they transport them to Nairobi and other markets hence exploiting the farmers in them in the process.


Efforts to get comment from Wachira were not successful as his cell phone went answered for the entire part of the day.

by Irungu Mwangi

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