The Sh1 billion allocated to miraa farmers will not be used to introduce alternative crops, Governor Kiraitu Murungi has said.
The governor and over 20 MCAs said the money from the National Government would only be used for the intended purpose — to improve miraa farming.
On Tuesday, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri angered farmers and leaders from the miraa growing Nyambene region when he announced that he and Mr Kiraitu had agreed that part of the funds would be used to introduce macadamia and avocado farming.
MCAs David Kaithia and Kimathi Ithibua and seven of their colleagues from miraa growing areas warned against using the money for other causes.
“After the minister’s utterances we are now left wondering whether the money was meant for miraa or other crops. What we know is that avocado and macadamia have their own money allocated by the county assembly since agriculture is a devolved function,” Mr Kaithia said.
On Wednesday, Kiraitu, the assembly majority leader, Victor Karithi, and over 20 MCAs said the devolved unit was spending its own funds to diversify crops in miraa growing areas.
The governor assured miraa farmers that the funds would not be used for other causes.
He said he had met the CS but at no time did they agree that the funds would be used on other crops.
“I have had many meetings with Kiunjuri. He has been to Meru on dairy events and we requested him to give us coolers. But concerning miraa we did not say I will use national government funds. If they bring avocados they will do it as the national government. The money we are using (for avocados and macadamia) is ours. We are not using even a cent of miraa funds,” said Kiraitu. The governor also urged residents to ignore rumours that he had asked farmers to uproot miraa.