Rice farmers hold demo over FAO’s Sh33m
By Mangoa Mosota
More than 300 rice farmers of West Kano Irrigation Scheme held protests over a Sh33.3 million grant from a UN agency, to support three schemes in western Kenya.
Waving placards that castigated the National Irrigation Board (NIB), the farmers said the corporation had ignored them but was supporting the other irrigation schemes using the money from the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).
Led by Nyando MP Fred Outa, the protestors said on Tuesday evening the NIB was "as good as dead". "NIB has colluded with bogus people to swindle farmers. Their representatives have been ignored," claimed Outa.
The MP further accused the corporation of interfering with the composition of the scheme’s management committee denying famers the opportunity to freely select their representatives.
However, NIB western Kenya manager Abdi Hassan disputed the claims, saying "politics was being introduced into the matter".
"There are people playing politics with the problems at West Kano. There is no money that is to be given to farmers. Instead, they will receive inputs from from May," he said.
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He said more than 1000 rice farmers at Bunyala and Ahero have already received fertilisers and seeds.
On Tuesday evening, the protesters said NIB was overcharging them for water they use in their farms.
"We have been frustrated. Water is vey expensive; no one seems interested in solving our plight," said Charles Omondi, a farmer.
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