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Heavy rains spell doom for potato farmers in Kinangop

CARTOON
By | January 9th 2010

By Antony Gitonga

The deluge of rains pounding away at the country is bringing losses in its wake, as farmers dump crops in the market at throwaway prices.

In North Kinangop, the price of a 110kg sack of potatoes has dropped from Sh2,700 to Sh600, and potatoes that have not been harvested have started to rot in the farms. The problem has been further compounded by impassable feeder roads, and the fallout between farmers and brokers over the weight per sack.

Former Kinangop MP, Waithaka Mwangi, blamed the new potato law, which the Nairobi City Council has failed to implement. The rule, passed in 2005 by parliament directed that all potatoes been ferried to market should weigh 110kgs per sack.

According to Mwangi, brokers were rejecting potatoes from Kinangop because the farmers adhered to rule.

Against the law

"The brokers are going to Narok and other areas to buy potatoes where a sack weighs over 150kg, which is against the law," he said

He called on the Minister for Local Government, Musalia Mudavadi, to intervene so that fair trade prevails.

Matheri Wa Hungu, a farmer from the area, said most farmers were incurring losses.

He called for quick measures to solve the problem, adding that the farmers were loosing thousand of shillings everyday.

"This is the only cash crop we rely on in Kinangop, and we call on the PM and the ministers for Agriculture and Local Government to come to our aid," he said.

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