Tomato farmers in Kajiado have a reason to smile as a law to ensure they are not exploited by brokers in the sector is being drafted by their county government through the Ministry of Agriculture.
The farmers normally incur heavy losses due to overfilled tomato crates which cost the same price as the normal crates.
While addressing the press, Kajiado Chief Executive Member for Agriculture Jackline Koin revealed that a crop agricultural and tomato crop regulation bill that will give specific measures for crates used in selling tomatoes is in the pipeline.
According to Koin, the bill has gone through the first reading in the county assembly but is yet to go through public participation and second reading but she was optimistic that the County Assembly will give it a nod.
She further stated that the recent use of Kenya Agricultural Market Information System (KAMIS) in the county will enable farmers to sell their produce on point of information and will go a long way in edging out middle men.
“KAMIS will help the farmers within the county to come together to be able to bargain the prices of their produce and also form cooperatives which will transport tomatoes within and outside the county where maximum profits are attained,” said Koin.
The County Executive further revealed that the county is in the process of putting up two tomato processing plants, one in Namelok which is county funded and another in Rombo which has been funded by the Ewaso Ngiro South Development Authority (ENSDA).
A tomato farmer in Eselenkei Ward Rose Nashilu was elated over the bill saying brokers have for a long time exploited them on tomato prices, thus the bill will go a long way in ensuring that they get profits for their hard-earned produce.
“The turbo crates carry a lot of tomatoes but the prices are the same as those of a normal crate making us incur huge losses but we have no alternative as the middle men are the same and we have no adequate information on the markets we can sell our produce to,” she said.
In 2018, the overweight crates popularly known as turbo were banned by the county government, but brokers have always found a way to get them to the markets.
By Diana Meneto