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Varsity-contracted farmers protest over delayed payments

By Mercy Kahenda | March 24th 2016

Farmers contracted by Egerton University to produce certified seeds have protested over delayed payments.

The more than 30 farmers under Makongo Farmers Network group in Elementaita yesterday said that the institution owes them about Sh300,000 after it contracted them to produce beans, chickpeas and finger millet last year.

Led by Francis Ngiri, the group's chairperson, they said as a result of the delay, they are now at risk of being taken to court by the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) where they borrowed Sh500,000 to engage in the venture.

Mr Ngiri said farmers were to pay AFC the principal amount together with a Sh50,000 interest by this month but they have not been able to.

"We are preparing for the main planting season but unfortunately we are stranded because AFC wants us to offset a loan we borrowed to plant seeds after being contracted by the university," said Ngiri.

Ngiri said the university, under Seed Unit of Agro-Science Park, had promised to pay them immediately they supplied the seeds last year.

Dr Bernard Towett who is in charge of the unit blamed the delay on "financial constraints".

He, however, promised that the farmers would be paid by end of the month.

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