Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Pay macadamia farmers their dues, nuts processor told

A macadamia processor has been accused of delaying to pay farmers for nuts they delivered between January and March this year.
Officials of Nuts Traders Association of Kenya have claimed the macadamia processor owes farmers from several counties within Mount Kenya region more than Sh60 million.
The officials who said they will not expose the identity of the processor now added they will instead give him a period of one-week to settle the farmers’ dues failure to which they will publicly expose him.
Led by chairman of the association, Mr. Johnson Kihara, the macadamia traders observed that most of the affected farmers are from Meru, Embu, Murang’a, Nyeri, Kirinyaga and Kiambu counties.
Kihara in a press briefing on Saturday said that many farmers are going through hard times especially this time the country is facing the threat of Covid-19, yet a processor is delaying to pay them their dues.
He asked the processor to explore all means and pay the affected farmers to enable them cushion difficulties occasioned by coronavirus pandemic.
The chairman further said the said processor is still buying macadamia from farmers but currently he is paying for the nuts by cash.
“If the processor is able to buy macadamia currently by cash, it seems he is able to offset debts of the nuts he collected between January and March this year. Many farmers have reached us seeking for assistance so they can get their money,” remarked Kihara.
Due to many challenges posed by the coronavirus, the chairman said many processors are unable to buy macadamia as international markets are negatively affected by the pandemic.
He said those buying the nuts now are doing so to keep the stock waiting for better markets when the disease will be globally contained.
“Countries where we sell macadamia are greatly affected by coronavirus but this does not mean our farmers should abandon the crop as once the disease will be contained, markets will open up and we will proceed exporting the nuts,” he added.
He noted as an association they will involve the county governments of the affected farmers to push for the delayed payments of delivered macadamia.
“After a period of one week we will engage county governments where the farmers yet to get their payment so as to push the processor pay his debts. We will also engage other government authorities like Agricultural and Food Authority (AFA) for assistance,” he added.
Speaking during the same occasion, secretary general of the association, Mr. John Ndirangu said the Ministry of Agriculture should take advantage of ongoing rains to distribute macadamia seedlings to farmers.
Ndirangu observed that available seedlings and which mostly are being sold by processors are quite expensive for ordinary farmers to afford.
“This time government through Ministry of Agriculture can start distributing macadamia seedlings to farmers to plant in their farms. Macadamia from our view has been neglected and we are asking county governments and Ministry of Agriculture to give the crop attention as they have given other cash crops,” Added Ndirangu.
He said processors buying macadamia currently should not take advantage of covid-19 pandemic to buy the nuts at a throw away price.
“A kilo of macadamia should not go below Sh100. Any price below a hundred shillings is an exploitation to farmers,” he added.
By Bernard Munyao

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