H.E Governor Jackson Mandago has called on the National Government to introduce emergency funds to cushion cereal farmers against calamities such as pests.
The Governor says farmers are vulnerable to being slapped by losses caused by pests and drought.
“The National Government through the Ministry of Agriculture needs to avail funds for emergency in case of calamities,” said Mandago. Currently, the fall army worm has infested farms in Uasin Gishu County’s Turbo Sub-County, the pest attack coming a bit too early and thus sending maize growers into stress.
Last year, the pest ravaged tens of thousands of acres in North and South Rift regions. Speaking as he hosted National Assembly’s select committee on Agriculture, Governor Mandago said calamities usually send farmers into big losses.
“Some farmers secure loans from AFC and other financial institutions to finance their farming activities. In the event of worm infestation and depressed rains, these farmers record up to 70 percent loss,” said Mandago.
The Governor made reference to the National Government’s compensation scheme to farmers who lose their livestock to drought. A week ago, a number of pastoralists were compensated after the Tanzanian government confiscated their herds at the Namanga border.
Mandago said farmers are experiencing problems that should be solved; otherwise the Government’s agenda of food security will not be achieved. “Uasin Gishu County is a food basket for the Country and there’s need to pump resources that will help boost productivity,” said Mandago.
Mandago also called on the ministry to relook on the issues of fertilizer distribution to NCPB noting that farmers have been lamenting that the stores have less fertilizer. To cut off cartels in the agriculture sector, Mandago said inputs should be ferried direct to cooperatives stores.
“Farmers themselves will interrogate and be stern on persons whose faces are not familiar in the grass roots.” “Members of cooperatives can recognize themselves so cartels do not have chances there,” said Mandago during an extension meeting with farmers at the County Hall.
Kwanza MP Ferdinand Wanyonyi led the delegation to Uasin Gishu County. Members of Parliament Janet Sitienei (Turbo), Silas Tiren (Moiben) and Justus Murunga (Matungu) were in the committee.
CECs for Agriculture Samwel Yego and his counterpart for Finance CPA Julius Rutto were also present in the day-long fact-finding mission.

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