A section of Murang’a leaders and farmers have told Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS), Mwangi Kiunjuri to amend Livestock Bill 2019 before it’s presented before Parliament.
The leaders allied to Civic Renewal Party (CRP) have faulted section of the bill that requires farmers to register all their livestock.
An official with the party, James Mwangi termed the part of the bill that demands farmers among other producers to register their livestock as draconian.
In a press conference on Friday, Mwangi who led group of farmers accused the CS of trying to curtail farmers’ freedom of keeping cows, chicken and pigs among other livestock.
He said sub section 169 of the bill requires farmers also to register even bees terming the requirement incredible.
Mwangi accompanied by other members of the newly formed party said it is a taboo for pastoralists to count their livestock and thus such part should be dropped before the bill is enacted into law.
“The requirement for farmers to register their livestock is a way of frustrating farmers who struggle to keep animals, including chicken and bees. The proposed law also requires farmers to acquire licenses before selling their animal products. Such requirements are impractical,” added Mwangi.
The officials faulted ministry of agriculture for failure of doing public participation before coming up with the bill.
Mwangi noted that lack of adequate public participation and stakeholders’ consultation has resulted to drafting of the bill which if it is enacted in present form, will negatively affect farmers.
“Jubilee government values agriculture but some decision made by the CS are out to frustrate efforts of farmers,” he added.
A farmer, Peter Muigai said if the contentious sections of the bill are not repealed, they will mobilize farmers and stage demonstration at the offices of the agriculture CS.
“We will mobilize farmers and walk with our livestock to Kiunjuri’s office to register our disappointment on some parts of the law,” said Muigai.
The farmers challenged Ministry of agriculture to come up with policies to boost farming and not laws which would frustrate them.
In the proposed Livestock Bill, a farmer will be fined Sh. 100, 000 or serve one year jail term or both, if he fails to register all his livestock.
In the Bill, it is also proposed farmers to acquire a license before selling animal products, failure to which they face stiff penalties.
By Bernard Munyao