Macadamia farmers get relief in export of nuts after battling CS Kiunjuri

Michael Kariuki, a macadamia farmer and an Embu MCA works at his farm in Mutira area, Embu County on February 12, 2016. He has 3,700 stems of macadamia trees that produce 16 tonnes of nuts annually, a factory for drying the nuts and a nursery with 10,000 seedlings. [Photo:JOSEPH MUCHIRI/STANDARD]

Macadamia farmers from Embu, Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties are free to export their produce.

This was after the High Court in Embu restrained the Government from interfering with export of the nuts.

The orders were granted after Edenswin Traders Limited, a macadamia exporting company, sued Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri and the Attorney General over harassment of farmers. 

The company's director, Erick Mwirigi Mbaabu, also accused the Government of intimidating farmers so they don't enjoy benefits of new international markets they have secured.

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He said Kiunjuri disregarded public interest in enforcing a ban on raw macadamia exports.

And yesterday, High Court Judge Florence Muchemi said macadamia farmers should be allowed to export their products with or without shells pending determination of their suit.

“A temporary order is issued that macadamia that are in the process of being exported be allowed pending determination of the suit,” said Muchemi.

The judge also stopped Mr Kiunjuri from harassing, arresting, detaining, prohibiting or interfering with the process of exporting macadamia.

Mbaabu had told court farmers from the three counties are aggrieved by what he termed continuous harassment and intimidation by Kiunjuri.

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"Since the collapse of international markets for miraa, macadamia is the only cash crop in these regions. Most farmers are now relying on the nuts to earn living,” said Mwirigi.

He claimed farmers are being subjected to arbitrary arrests and malicious prosecution. He said the farmers risk losing their macadamia to Kiunjuri's agents.

“The CS, working with cartels, has been publishing notices in the press warning that traders involved in smuggling macadamia nuts to China will be arrested,” said Mwirigi.

He accused Kiunjuri of irregularly issuing orders for the arrest of local and foreign investors offering better prices for macadamia.

Mwangi KiunjuriMacamia farmerscourt