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Muranga County MCAs recommend redrafting of avocado bill

Assembly committee has recommended the withdrawal of the contentious Murang’a County Avocado Production and Processing Bill 2020.

The agriculture committee after a two-day retreat recommended the withdrawal of the bill, and be returned for redrafting, to enable it to capture views of the players in the value chain.

The committee chairperson Charles Kahoro observed that two constituencies failed to conduct public participation exercise.

The retreat was convened to analyse public views on the status of the bill, that created a rift between Governor Mwangi wa Iria, a section of MCAs, farmers in Kandara and Gatanga constituencies.

In the 48-page document, the age of trees intended to be cut should be included in the application forms before approval by the county government officials.

Exporters of avocados, processors, nurseries operators, transporters, cold rooms operators must also be registered and licensed.

The transport must indicate the source of the produce and destination.

“The bill has been withdrawn to ensure views from the players in the sector among them, Ministry of Agriculture, Agriculture Food Authority (AFA) are captured,” said Kahoro also Kangari MCA.

During the last Monday public participation, three MCAs Simon Wamwea, Moses Murigi and Kibe wa Sally at Kandara children's home hall were stopped by farmers from proceeding with the exercise.

Murang’a is a leading producer of avocado. Last year farmers earned Sh5 billion from the commodity.

In the past two years, the governor said his administration has distributed free avocado seedlings estimated at Sh1.6 million.

He said his interest to guard farmers against exploitation by cartels follows projection that production of the fruit in the next four years will be close to Sh20 billion annually.

The bill eyes establishment of a surveillance unit that will ensure the policies followed to the latter.