Leaders write wishlist ahead of Ruto tour of region

President William Ruto. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

Trans Nzoia leaders are expectant that President William Ruto's tour of the region will yield solutions to challenges residents face.

The president will be in Trans Nzoia County tomorrow to launch the national farmers' registration drive to enable the use of the e-voucher system in accessing subsidised fertiliser.

Farmers believe the system will lock out cartels frustrating them and leading to a drop in food production.

They want the government to speed up the registration drive and make inputs available through accredited institutions on time to enable farmers to plant at the onset of long rains in March.

On Saturday, the president will be at the installation of Father Henry Juma Odonya as the new Bishop of Kitale Catholic Diocese.

Local leaders want the government to hive off 1,000 acres of land from Namandala Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) farms to establish a public university.

During a consultative meeting at Westside Hotel, on Monday, the leaders came up with several proposals they intend to present to President Ruto.

They are also pushing for the resettlement of squatters and internally displaced families affected by tribal clashes between 1992 and 2007.

There are more than 60,000 squatters in the county, most living in markets and on road reserves.

Christopher Matanzia, the chair of Trans Nzoia Squatters Association and Moses Masinde, the chair of Kimboroa Squatters, said they have unsuccessfully fought for squatters for decades.

The leaders want the national government to build Maili Tisa-Kobos-Kapomboi road to ease the transportation of produce to markets.

The leaders are also seeking the support of the national government to operationalise the County Referral and Teaching Hospital.

Governor George Natembeya said that Sh2.5 million is required to make the referral facility operational.

Natembeya said the president is a neighbour of Trans Nzoia thus the region should benefit from development projects.

"The president is our neighbour and we should be the first county to benefit from his administration as a good gesture for neighbourliness," said the governor.

Yesterday, cereals producers were optimistic that the registration of farmers will ensure a timely supply of inputs.

“Farmers registration process has been okay and we appeal to those yet to be listed to turn up for the important drive that will allow government plan well for the benefit of the country’s food security,” said Kipkorir Menjo, the director of North Rift chapter of Kenya Farmers Association.