Stakeholders in the agriculture industry have criticized the government move to impose 16 per cent tax on agricultural pest control products.
The six companies are now demanding the government to repeal the just accented to tax amendment act which imposes 16 per cent VAT on pest control products.
They include East African Farmers Federation, Cereal Growers Association, Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya, Kenya Flower Council, Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya, Agrochemicals Association of Kenya.
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They questioned the motive of the tax increment saying that the move may have been motivated by sinister agenda.
“As stakeholders we are concerned on the negative effects that the introduction of the 16% VAT will have to the agriculture sector as a whole,” said Steven Muchiri, CEO East Africa Farmers Association.
He adds that Kenya has faced severe drought in the recent past and pests like fall armyworm which ravaged crops, influx of food imports and even floods.
This has rendered farmers more uncompetitive and the new VAT on pest control products will significantly increase the cost of production.
“Compounded with impending increase in the cost of fuel, the move would see farmers have an increase in the cost of production with over 50 per cent,” he further said Muchiri.
They listed a number of negative impacts that they say would subject farmers to limitless suffering.
Such encompass the trickle effects leading to increased food prices for the local mwananchi, increased dependency on food imports as well as increased counterfeit pesticides in the market.
They say also fear possible food safety and health concerns due to exposure to substandard pesticides, loss on income and livelihoods for small scale farmers, depressed revenue from export markets among many more. The stakeholders have also challenged the government to walk the talk if the executive is realistic about achieving Agenda 4.