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President Ruto launches ICT hubs in Meru tour


President William Ruto kicked off his three-day tour of Meru county with launching development projects in three constituencies.

The Head of State was accompanied by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, Cooperatives and MSMEs Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui, his Agriculture counterpart Mithika Linturi and Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza among other leaders when he opened a new cold storage facility at Buuri.

He said the project will eliminate unscrupulous brokers and traders who take advantage of farmers' vulnerability and force them to sell produce at throwaway prices to avoid losses.

"It (cold storage) is part of our agricultural infrastructure because many farmers lose their harvest because they cannot wait for market prices to stabilize, but now you have a facility here where you will bring your potatoes for storage for up to a year," he said.

Ruto was optimistic that empowerment of farmers through value addition will remove the middlemen.

"The unscrupulous brokers who have been taking advantage of you will no longer control you. We will now agree on good prices because the potatoes will not rot because we have a cold room," he said.

The President announced that the Agriculture Ministry would distribute fertiliser to farmers across the country from next week, to increase food production.

He said the government had secured enough fertiliser to retail at Sh2,500 under the subsidised fertiliser programme ahead of the planting season. 

Ruto urged farmers to use adequate fertiliser to improve yield.

“For us, to increase productivity, I urge our farmers to double the quantity of fertiliser they use,” he said.

"From next week, I will fill all your stores with fertiliser, and I am asking farmers to apply more fertiliser to increase productivity," he added.The Head of State said his target is to support farmers to achieve food sufficiency in Kenya and avoid costly imports.

"We cannot spend Sh500 billion every year to import food when we can grow it locally. That is why we must work together as government, citizens, farmers and private sector to ensure that we grow enough food in Kenya to avoid the challenge of importing food," he said.

Ruto also launched a 43km tarmac road in Buuri and announced that his administration will build 10,000 units under the affordable housing programme in the region.

"It will create 20,000 jobs for the young people, who will work in these projects," he said.

He also opened ICT hubs at Kiirua TTI and Karumo TTI where he said every MP would build an ICT hub through the National Government -Constituency Development Fund, while he (Ruto) will install internet and provide computers.

"We have already secured (digital) job opportunities, and your job is to be trained and work so that you can get some money to improve your life and move the country forward," he said.

He gave MPs nine months to construct the facilities.

"In the next nine months, I want you to come and get ready for me to install computers and enable you to start work," Ruto said.

He reiterated his commitment to create job opportunities for youths.

"We do not want Kenyan youth to suffer. You have an opportunity in our programmes, in housing, digital jobs in the export of labour, so that you can get income to manage your life and contribute to the development of our country," he said.

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