Uhuru out to kill wheat farming, claims Kosgey

Agriculture Minister Sally Kosgei has accused her Finance colleague Uhuru Kenyatta of uttering "superficial answers" over the controversial 10 per cent wheat import duty imposed by Treasury recently.

The minister said the East African Community Common Market Protocol could not be the reason to destroy Kenya’s wheat industry.

She said a responsible Government ought to subsidise vulnerable sectors and harness international protocols for national interest.

Dr Kosgei accused the Ministry of Finance of sidelining her docket on the duty matter, purchase of grain from farmers and privatisation of sugar mills in Western and Nyanza provinces.

She called for the wheat duty’s immediate suspension and urged EAC Minister Amason Kingi to appeal to the bloc for an upward review.

Kosgey further accused the Finance minister of attempting to convert this duty debate into "rocket science" instead of protecting local farmers’ interests at international trade negotiations.

She has received the support from the Agriculture Committee of Parliament in a collective observation that Uhuru misdirected himself a great deal in his allocations to the Agriculture ministry at June budget.

She said some of Uhuru’s allocations were "strange" and incomprehensible, including allocating millions of shillings to the Youth ministry for agricultural mechanisation instead of her ministry.

Kosgei said Uhuru allocated nothing for the purchase of maize from farmers this financial year. She accused him of ignoring a recommendation last year to buy the crop at Sh1,800 per bag from farmers in Eastern Province and the harvest was destroyed by aflatoxin.

She also accused Uhuru of allocating an unsolicited Sh760 million to her ministry to buy cereal driers instead of providing money to build silos.

The minister challenged Uhuru’s allocation Sh106 million to her ministry for irrigation instead of the requested Sh6.8 billion.

She also disclosed that whereas her ministry requested money to maintain vehicles Uhuru allocated Sh147million for hire of vehicles instead.