Rice farmers in Mwea are happy with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive that the Treasury provides Sh.660 million to boost rice harvest.
The allocation adds up to Sh.960 million, money that will go directly to the purchase of rice from farmers in Mwea and Kano plains in Nyanza.
Consequently, leaders in Kirinyaga have vowed to support the President’s kind gesture by ensuring that the money is put to the intended use.
The Mwea Member of Parliament, Kavinga Wachira who has been in the front line pushing for the wellbeing of the rice farmers in the area said he will ensure every farmer benefits from the money.
Wachira said he is happy that the government has finally intervened through the allocation of the money, which will now stabilize the prices of rice in Mwea.
“We have had a big problem with middle men who take advantage of the farmers and end up buying their rice at very low prices, the government will now set the standard and farmers will have an option where they can take their crop for better prices,” he said.
Wachira who spoke to the media at Wang’uru town immediately after the presidential directive was overcome with joy and implored the President to allow him lead a delegation of a few farmers to State House Nairobi to present some little rice to him as token of appreciation.
He said rice farmers have suffered for long and added the suffering has now come to an end with the allocation of money and the directive that the locally produced rice be supplied to disciplined forces, prisons service as well as boarding schools.
“I am telling the farmers to double their efforts as their rice may not even be enough, we are so grateful to our President,” Wachira said.
Wachira said the Sh.660 million will be channeled to the Kenya National Trading Corporation (KNTC) to purchase the excess rice.
The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) is already in Mwea with an allocation of Sh.100 million which they have been using to buy rice from the farmers.
Wachira said the government has also allocated Sh.200 million for the strategic food reserve fund, money which will also be under the management of the NCPB.
The legislator said the inclusion of the rice crop in the strategic food reserve category will not only provide market for the farmers but improve prices for the Mwea rice.
He said the new arrangement will finally get rid of unscrupulous traders who for a long time exploited the farmers in Mwea.
Wachira asked the organizations which have been mandated to work to procure the rice crop from the farmers should work out mechanisms to go to the farmers right at the grassroots to cut the transport expenses for the farmers.
Pius Njogu, MCA of the area said they will work with the government to make sure that rice farmers benefit from the new directive.
He said they are able to organize centres from all over the rice scheme, where the organization can make arrangements with the farmers to easily access the rice.
By Irungu Mwangi