Kenyans urged to prepare for severe food shortage
NYERI, Kenya March 28 – Kenyans are set to brace for a severe food shortage following an admission by the Ministry of Agriculture that it cannot raise 32 billion shillings to offer subsidized agricultural inputs ahead of the harvest season. sowing.
The admission comes at a time when thousands of farmers in the country’s food basket are preparing to plant during this long rainy season but are unable to buy inputs such as fertilizer whose prices have skyrocketed.
Speaking at a meeting with tea growers at the Gathhuthi tea factory in Nyeri, Agriculture CS Peter Munya said his ministry needed 31 billion shillings to ensure inputs were brought to an affordable level , but could not raise funds due to budget constraints.
“At the moment we cannot be able to help our farmers due to the fact that a budget has not been formulated, we are stuck due to differences between the deputies of the assembly, therefore the farmers must understand that our hands are tied,” Munya said.
Munya said the high prices of agricultural inputs are a result of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and nothing can be done but offer subsidies to farmers to enable them to produce enough crops for the country.
Regarding the tea reforms, Munya said a forensic audit of all tea factories will be completed in two months so that the desired reforms are carried out.
“At the moment we are almost finalizing the audit reports, but the preliminary reports indicate that there has been huge borrowing by previous directors in an insufficient manner, in some cases they have borrowed while having their own money, a decision that has eaten into farmers’ incomes,” Munya said. .
Munya, however, said they were in talks with farmer-owned Green Fedha and other banks for a restructuring to alleviate debts that are a nuisance in the tea sector.
The SC noted that the reforms are being thwarted by cartels in the sector through court cases which are still pending.
“Many think we are done with the cartels but that is not the case they are still here and that is why the cases are dragging on in court despite the farmers via KTDA saying they don’t want a trial “Munya said.
Munya said the area hardest hit by cartels is the coffee sector where ninety percent of the problems are controlled by cartels.