Heavy machines worth over 84 million in disuse in Taita Taveta

Four new graders and four tractors bought by the former regime at a cost of Sh84 million are lying idle.

The graders were bought by the John Mruttu administration to help maintain roads while the tractors were to help in mechanising agriculture.

The tractors were expected to help boost the county government’s efforts to increase the acreage under farming by providing subsidised agricultural mechanisation to residents, especially in Mwatate, Voi and Taveta sub-counties.

One of the areas the former administration focused on was improvement of roads and mechanisation of agriculture, hence the heavy investment in the equipment.

However, the machines remain unused.

Agriculture executive Davis Mwangoma and his Public Works counterpart Houghton Mombo, however, lamented that some of the the tractors and graders were spoiled.

In fact, Mr Mwangoma said two of the tractors were beyond repair.

“We are using the two tractors that are in good condition for the time being to help improve agricultural production. We are planning to procure new ones,” he said.

He said one of the tractors was lying at the Voi GK Prisons without an engine. “It requires about Sh1.9 million to repair one tractor. It is better to buy a new one instead of repairing the ageing ones,” said Mwangoma.

Mombo said the county government had been forced to hire graders from the national government and private investors because the ones bought by the former regime were grounded.

He said only one tractor allocated Taveta sub-county was working.

“We have been hiring the earth movers from the National Mechanical Transport Fund to repair our dilapidated roads,” said Mombo.

He added: “We prefer hiring the services of the national government because its rates are friendly and there is no VAT. Private contractors are very expensive.”

The county is the main bread basket of the entire Coast region.

However, Mombo assured residents that the county government would make every effort to improve roads as well as farming.

“We will ensure residents are able to deliver their produce to markets without problems,” he said.

Records show the region has the potential of producing more than 379,000 bags of maize annually. However, it has only been producing about 110,000 bags.

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gradersFormer Taita Taveta GovernorJohn Mruttutractors