A section of farmers from Garissa county now want the departments of Agriculture and Livestock reverted to the national government and placed under the office of the president.
Led by the Kenya livestock marketing council chair Dubat Amey the farmers said they were dissatisfied by the performance of the two departments that have rundown institutions meant to market farm and animal products for local farmers.
Amey who is also the vice chair of the Kenya Farmers Federation, North Eastern region asked president Uhuru Kenya to place the two departments under his office ‘so that he can be able to personally monitor them’.
He said that the Ministry of Agriculture has crippled the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) meant to buy livestock from the pastoralists in Northern Kenya and the National Cereals and Produce Boards for maize farmers in North Rift among other institutions.
“We cannot continue seating back and watch the ministry impoverish the farmer in this country. And that is why we want president Uhuru Kenyatta to personally intervene over this matter,” Amey said.
The Ministry had also failed to establish international markets for the camel, one of the most profitable animals for the pastoralists from Northern Kenya, despite the country boasting of major ports in Mombasa and Lamu.
“We are not able to export the camels from Northern Kenya. The camels are instead driven by road to Moyale, then Ethiopia and Djibouti for onward export to the Arab world while we have two of the most developed ports in the coast,” lamented Amey.
He said that the KMC ‘has turned out to be the cash cow for a few individual and is no longer viable for the pastoralists communities in the country.’
On Maize, Amey regretted that the ministry has equally ‘rundown’ NCPB and farmers in Usain Gishu, Trans-Nzoia and Nandi counties in North Rift have nowhere to take their maize.
“The NCPB has shut down their doors to the farmers in the major counties that produce and depend on maize. But after the farmers have disposed their maize at a throw away price, the ministry announces that the country has maize shortage allowing cartels to import the maize,” Amey said.
“At one time Kenya had to import maize from Malawi. This is shameful and we cannot allow it to continue. This country is blessed and farmers are able to produce enough maize for local consumption and export,” he added.
The livestock chair said that the ministry need to be restructured adding, ‘It’s time Kenyan farmers are given more say in institutions involved in marketing their produce especially NCPB and KMC.’