Murang’a, Thursday, April 19, 2018 Kna By: Bernard Munyao
A section of traders who deal with macadamia from Mount Kenya region want the law restricting exportation of raw macadamia quashed.
Members of Nuts Traders Association of Kenya argued section 43 of Crop Act, 2013 is creating loopholes for macadamia farmers to be exploited by processors.
Led by their chairman, Johnson Kihara, the traders who are also macadamia farmers on Wednesday, accused the Eleventh parliament for passing the law without seeking views of farmers.
They castigated nuts processors, saying the law has given them power to exploit macadamia farmers by buying their produce at meagre prices. Kihara noted that macadamia sector is controlled by less than 10 licensed processors, who determine the price of the nuts.
“Macadamia sector is not liberalized, farmers cannot seek international buyers, as they are curtailed by the few processors who want to continue buying the nuts at very low prices,” added the chairman. Macadamia, he observed, have been selling at high prices from neighbouring countries, saying it’s only in Kenya where the nuts are bought at a throwaway price.
“Kenyan macadamia are of better quality than those from countries, like South Africa and Zambia, but our produce is fetching less price, compared to those from the other countries and this is occasioned by cartels who have marred the sector”, he observed.
The traders accused Agriculture Food and Fisheries Agriculture (AFFA) of failing to deploy officers to work with farmers towards improvement of the nuts production. The traders threatened to petition in High Court if the section 43 of crop Act 2013 will not be repealed.
“We are appealing to the Cabinet Secretary of agriculture to crackdown on cartels who are exploiting Macadamia farmers. We want Macadamia not to be bought at less than Sh. 200 per kilo.” Said the association’s secretary, Nahason Mungi.
Mungi accused people who are against Chinese buying the nuts, saying the traders from Far East countries usually buy Macadamia at better prices. “The restriction hindering investors from setting up Macadamia processing industries should be done away with and more people get chance to invest in the sector,” added Mungi.