KAJIADO COUNTY: Government has moved in to arrest malpractices among nuts processing companies.
Smuggling of raw nuts by unscrupulous business dealers is seeing metric tonnes of macadamia nuts illegally finding way to international markets.
Now Principal Secretary Sicily Kariuki has said the government is launching a facts-finding mission in the nuts sector to stem massive losses and widespread exploitation of nut farmers. Speaking at the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) Wondernut International Company Ltd, Athi-River, early this week, the PS noted unhealthy competition and farmers’ exploitation are highly affecting the economic value of nuts.
Kariuki said there are firms which do not meet the standards required by Horticulture Crops Development Authority and Nuts Processors Association of Kenya (NPAK) with some having expired operating licences.
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“As a ministry we are worried about the nuts export business which has a high potential to boost our country economy but instead being marred by malpractices yielding less profits to key players and farmers as well. Those in nuts business are having unhealthy competition due to uncontrolled market regulations,” said Ms Kariuki .
Kariuki told nut processors to stop engaging in dubious business of processing, parking and exporting sub-standard nuts, saying that might cost the country economy millions deals.
“We will identify all malpractices in the nuts sector and come up with strategies including strict regulations of the sector that will ensure farmers reap more from their yields and ensure nut processors operate according to stated rules,” said the PS.