By Peter Kombe
The Ministry of Agriculture has given out a stern warning to unscrupulous traders after officially announcing a ksh 4 billion pay package to farmers.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri said the farmers who delivered maize at the national cereals and produce board will receive their package only after undergoing a thorough vetting.
“Before the ministry makes any payment to any farmer thorough vetting will be done in a bid to avoid paying unscrupulous traders,” he insisted
The CS indicated that any unscrupulous trader identified by the ministry will face a full force of the law.
Addressing the Media in Mombasa on Saturday, CS Kiunjuri added that already a parliamentary supplementary budget has been tabled in parliament to look into the issue.
“Any trader who will be identified by this ministry and not vetted shall face a full force of the law so that he should not frustrate genuine farmers” he insisted
The official however disclosed that in actualizing the payment scheme the ministry will put a limit on the delivery to be made.
The government official further noted that before making any payment transaction, the ministry must ascertain the source of maize.
He added that the national cereals and produce board has a total of 120,663, 90 kilogram bags of maize valued at ksh 386,121,360 lined up for payment.
“We shall ascertain the source of maize before we pay. Already there is maize at the NCPB that farmers need to receive payment of,” he said
On the issue of the army worm infestation in various regions in the country, Kiunjuri noted that the pest is a real threat to the food security of the state.
He explained that the pest does not only feed on maize alone but about 50 per cent of the plants.
The CS outlined that the only way to eradicate the worm is through effective control methods.
“This fall army worm can best be managed through effective control. The ministry is committed to ensuring that this pest is managed” he said
The top ministry official advised Kenyan farmers to carry out an early morning spray during the first 14 day after infestation.
He said the ministry will soon issue guidelines on the ways of managing the outbreak of the pest.
He pointed that Nandi, Uasin Gishu, Bungoma and Trans Nzoia are among the most affected counties.
“The pest is common in the basket counties of Nandi, Bungoma and Trans Nzoia. We shall give directions on how we shall combat the pest very soon,” he said
The ministry has so far recommended the use of the following pesticides in control of the army worm; Vantex 60- Gamma Cyhalolothrin, Coragen 200 SC- Chlorantraniliprole, voliam targo 63- SC Chlorantraniliprole, Marshal 250 EC- Carbosulfan, Belt 480 SC- Flubendiamide among others.
At the same time, Kwanza Constituency Member of Parliament Ferdinand Wanyonyi urged county governments to chip in and financially assist the ministry in combating the spread of the worm.
He called for a joint effort between the county governments and the national government.
“We need to pull our efforts together and county government must come in and assist, they should at least raise 3 million of 30 million in this fight,” he said
The legislator estimated the fight against the pest at Ksh1 billion.
Meanwhile Turbo lawmaker Janet Sitienei urged the Agriculture ministry to put into consideration the interests of the small scale farmers.
The ministry should consider the interests of the small scale farmers. I thank the effort that the ministry is doing to ensure that farmers are paid,” the legislator noted.