Farmers confront MPs over fertilizer money

ELDORET, KENYA: Angry farmers confronted the National Assembly Budget and Appropriation Committee in Eldoret at a public meeting.

Farmers from the region discovered that the state has not allocated any money for the purchase of subsidized fertilizer in the proposed 2019/20 budget.

The daylong consultative meeting at the County Hall was dominated by expression of frustrations by farmers who accused the state of crippling an already ailing maize sector through scrapping of subsidy.

The 2019-20 budget, according to a budget summary seen by The Standard, is estimated at Sh3.03 trillion, 2.3 percent lower than the 2018-19 financial year.

“We came to this consultative meeting with high hopes that our government will have some goodies for the maize sector but we were shocked to establish that we had been invited to rubber-stamp a budget that only favours coffee and miraa farmers,” an elderly maize farmer Patrice Chepkwony from Moiben constituency said as the hard questions rolled.

Mr Chepkwony questioned there was little allocation of funds to the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) for farmers to borrow loans.

“This budget is a mockery to hardworking Kenyans who are working round the clock to feed the country,” he said during the Tuesday meeting.

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“It is a shame that youth who graduated from universities and who should be engaging in commercial farming have now resorted to boda boda riding,” he complained.

At some point during the meeting, Mr Chepkwony asked committee member George Ochanda to defend interests of farmers in parliament, claiming leaders from the North Rift stopped safeguarding their interests.

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Fertiliser SubsidyAgricultural Finance CorporationNational Assembly