The State has assured farmers that it was committed to streamlining the maize sub-sector through interventions that include subsidies and timely payments to growers of the country’s most important food crop.
Government Spokesman Colonel (Retired) Cyrus Oguna said relevant ministries were engaging all stakeholders who have been expressing conflicting views over the maize importation debate, before communicating accurate data and information to Kenyans.
Last Week, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri kicked off the storm when he said the increasing cost of maize flour has pushed relevant agencies to speed up the process of importing 12.5 million bags of maize owing to the shortage.
However, Strategic Food Reserve Trust Fund chairperson Dr. Noah Wekesa dismissed claims of maize shortage in the country, saying it was “artificial” and exaggerated to justify plans by cartels to import the grain.
Dr. Wekesa has since received backing from elected leaders from the leading maize-growing region of North Rift led by Cherangany Member of Parliament Joshua Kuttuny.
Mr. Oguna who spoke when he addressed Journalists Wednesday at the Kenya News Agency Offices in Nakuru affirmed that the government will continue protecting local farmers.
“Political elites and businessmen have been feeding farmers with conflicting views on the matter. The concerns are raised to help farmers. The state will prevent any unnecessary delivery of cheap imports into the country or to National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB),” he asserted.
The government spokesman said the state had changed tact in addressing unique challenges facing Kenyans at grassroots by conducting visits at sub-county level.
“We will be visiting sub-counties and have consultative and interactive sessions with locals so as to get a firsthand and real time grasp of the challenges they have been facing. We will also be exploring the uptake and effectiveness of government services such as the Inua Jamii Programmes”, he said.
Oguna stated the grassroots visits have also been tailored to address outdated cultural practices that have been hampering service delivery such as cattle rustling, female genital mutilation and early marriages.
He said it was unfortunate that while the government is working hard to develop certain areas that were previously marginalized, these outdated practices were eroding all the gains made.
“These vices have assumed very dangerous proportions with innocent people losing their lives in the process. Our strategy to relocate to sub-county level is aimed at engaging political leaders, elders and youth in friendly informal sessions that will discourage locals from these backward cultures.
We are confident that promoting dialogue among feuding members of the communities that have been in conflict over pasture and cattle raids will bring to an end the culture of impunity,” he said.
The government spokesman said reorganization of the Police service was ongoing and that all Administration Police Service camps at chiefs’ offices and those which are not near police stations are being transformed into police posts, following the President’s directive to merge police units.
The new changes started with the change of the command structure, with the collapse of parallel commanders for the APS, Kenya Police Service (KPS) and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI). The parallel commanders were all of the same rank, making overall command challenging.
It means that if you walk into a chief’s camp, you will find all government services there.
The chief will be present and if your case needs police attention, an officer in charge of a post or patrol base will attend to you.
The camps will have a holding cell and will handle all cases professionally.
“The ongoing changes will see the moved personnel being reintegrated into the system to allow them work well. We will ensure that public servants deliver quality and efficient services to Kenyans,” said the government spokesman.
By Anne Mwale