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Subukia farmers seek help on unpaid bean cash

By Kennedy Gachuhi | May 15th 2019
French beans farmers protest at NYS Grounds in Subukia, Nakuru County. (Harun Wathari, Standard)

More than 400 farmers in Subukia want the Government to compel a French bean buying company to pay them Sh7 million for supplies made since December last year.

The farmers complained that the company, Meru Greens, had not paid them for the past four months.

“The company collected our produce between December 2018 and March 2019 and has paid nothing so far. It also had arrears for the previous months which they had not fully paid,” said the farmers' spokesperson, Felista Karanja.

According to Ms Karanja, the farmers and the company had agreed that payments would be made after every seven days, from the date of delivery. The farmers were to receive Sh50 per kilogramme.

The farmers said the deal went on smoothly for the first few months before delays began.

“We became concerned when the people who had approached us first started sending representatives to speak to us in November,” said Elizabeth Wanjiku, a farmer.

Unpaid loans

For some, delayed payment has put them on collision course with lenders.

“Some banks are on our necks over loans that we have been unable to pay in time,” said Joseph Kimani.

They appealed to Parliament to enact laws to protect them from exploitation.

Meru Greens Managing Director Gerald Muthomi admitted that the firm owes the farmers money, and promised to pay before the end of the month.

Mr Muthomi said the company, which has a canning factory in Kitengela, had not exported the French beans since December 2018.

“It is true we owe the Subukia farmers a lot. We export to France and the market has been unstable until April this year. We started shipments two weeks ago,” he said.

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