Miraa farmers question delayed use of kitty

Joel Kimincha a famous miraa farmer with 30 acres of the crop samples the harvested crop outside his shop in Maua town on April 12, 2019. A one kilogram bundle of miraa was being sold at Sh9, 000 due to crop scarcity. [Olivia Murithi, Standard]

Miraa farmers are demanding access to the Sh1 billion kitty the Government has set aside to revive the sub-sector.

Local leaders who spoke on behalf of the farmers said President Uhuru Kenyatta had done well to allocate the funds, but wondered why farmers were yet to receive any money.

The leaders said they had hoped the farmers would have access to the kitty this financial year, but they were yet to.

Ntunene MCA Jediel Mauta said the farmers had waited eagerly for the money to rejuvenate the sector, which has seen dwindling fortunes in recent years.

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Mr Mauta said in an interview that the crop was harvested daily, yet finding proper markets had become a challenge. 

He noted that the planned construction of boreholes and water pans for the farmers was yet to take place.

“We have three months to the end of this financial year, but still not a single cent has been used to improve the miraa sector despite the allocation being captured in the budget," said Mauta.

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He emphasised that the farmers would not take lightly any misuse of the funds, and would keep a close eye on the task-force that was entrusted with the kitty to develop the sector.

“We want the entire amount that the President pledged for miraa farming to be accounted for. We know he is serious on the war against corruption," said Mauta.

Maua MCA George Muthuri said farmers had waited for too long for the money and that it was high time it was released.

Kimathi Gikunda, a farmer, said the sector had been hit hard by effects of the banning of miraa in European markets, and the money was needed to revive it.

“It has been almost half a decade since miraa was banned in the UK. We had hoped the Kenyan government would rescue us, but it is dragging its feet. We want the money out now," said Mr Gikunda.

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Miraa farmersGovernmentSh1 billion kittyPresident Uhuru Kenyatta