MP wants Sh3 billion paid direct to coffee growers

Wangari Njuguna

Kigumo MP Ruth Mwaniki has said the Sh3 billion kitty allocated by the government for the coffee sector should be channelled directly to farmers.

Mwaniki said creating channels for payment will give room for the embezzlement of the funds by cartels in the sector.

Speaking in Kigumo over the weekend, the legislator said the Coffee Board of Kenya (CBK) has  data on all farmers and the same should be used to disburse the money.

“CBK has in its record the number of farmers in the country and how many coffee trees they own” she said.

“We want this money to go directly to the farmers because if other channels are used very little will get to them” she added.

She said the Sh3.2 billion released by the government back in 2012 to revitalise the sector could have ended up in the pockets of a few people because nothing appears to have been done.

Proper channels

“This money cannot be fully accounted for because proper channels were not used to ensure it got to the right beneficiaries” she said.

Mwaniki, who was once the Chief Executive Officer for  Kenya  Planters Co-operative Union (KPCU), said the sector is full of cartels who  are always out to cripple it so that they can control it.

She said the cartels have been frustrating the government’s effort to revive the sector and this has adversely affected the small scale farmer.

The MP pointed an accusing finger at coffee cooperative societies saying they are also to blame for the mess in the sector due to poor management.

“These are the institutions which are meant to safeguard the interests of the farmers but instead they have been chocking them” observed Mwaniki.

She however said Sh3 billion is not enough to fully revitalise the sector urging the President to consider allocating more money in the next financial year.

The MP also said there is need to address the issues affecting the tea sector saying farmers are hurting due to the dwindling payment.

She said the issue of tea marketing needs to he addressed with urgency to save thousands of people who rely on it for a livelihood.

“The Cabinet secretary for agriculture should have negotiations with Kenya Tea Development Agency over this matter because we want better prices for our tea farmers” she added.

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