Baringo Senator Gideon Moi pledges to help farmers end problems in maize sector

Baringo Senator Gideon Moi 29/05/19 [FILE/Boniface Okendo, Standard]
Baringo Senator Gideon Moi has promised to help farmers in the North Rift get President Uhuru Kenyatta’s audience in bid to end problems bedeviling the maize sector.

Gideon yesterday said he was ready to act as the farmers’ representative in the search for a lasting solution for the sector that has been marred by poor prices occasioned by importation of maize.

He said woes in the agriculture sector have been worsened by inadequate funding in the 2019/20 budget read by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich on June 13.

Speaking at a meeting at Maji Mazuri in Uasin Gishu County where Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) clergy and faithful had organised a prayer service, Moi said problems in the sector need the intervention of the President.

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He expressed concern over plans by the Ministry of Agriculture to allow importation of 12 million bags of maize, saying it will further hurt the sector and impoverish farmers.

“We have discussed matters of grave concern to the farmers. There is a plan to import maize and there are no enough funds in the budget. We hope funds will be availed in the supplementary budget to address problems in the sector,” he said.

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The Kanu chairman said he will work closely with Moiben MP Silas Tiren, a champion of farmers’ interests, in addressing the challenges.

“I have spoken with the President about this matter. Mr Tiren will be the representative in the meeting with the President,” he said.

He also asked political leaders to respect President Uhuru and allow him to deliver on his mandate by shunning early campaigns.

The senator was responding to farmers who said they had been impoverished by poor policies that have almost brought the sector to its knees.

Jesse Mais, a former assistant minister, recalled days when former President Daniel Moi was in power, when farmers would buy brand new tractors and vehicles because they would make profits from farm produce, before poor polices, including unchecked importation, came into place, affecting prices and sparking huge losses.

“It is only the corrupt people in some government offices who can afford to buy new tractors and vehicles. We are urging church leaders to start agitating for better leadership,” said Mais.

Kenya Farmers Association (KFA) Director Kipkorir Menjo warned that the imported maize may arrive when local farmers are beginning to harvest this season’s produce, and would cause low prices.

“Why was the budget skewed against the farmer? The funds for subsidies were reduced from Sh4.3 billion last year to Sh2 billion and this will make farmers poor,” he added.

The SDA pastors, led by Rev Eliaza Kogei, urged Gideon to listen to the plight of Kenyans. “We will pray for your ambitions. We are pleading with you to have a listening heart,” said Rev Kogei before he and five other pastors prayed for the senator and his father.

The Senator thanked the SDA team and pledged to work closely with the church. The clergy and faithful were drawn from Nandi, Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet and Baringo counties.

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Baringo Senator Gideon MoiPresident Uhuru KenyattaCabinet Secretary Henry Rotich