Farmers in Nyandarua county up in arms over the ignorance on the ban of extended bags. The farmers said brokers buy the commodity in extended bags of 110 kgs which they later repackage into smaller bags of 50 kgs before they are sold to other markets.
The new potato regulations set were to come into place with immediate action. The regulations require potato farmers to get registered with the county government. Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri said this will enable the government to get the number of potato farmers in the country.
The law requires potatoes to be packaged in 50kg bags. Middlemen have been making huge incomes by the repackaging of the potatoes while the farmers reel in poverty.
Nyandarua Potato Growers Association Chairman Wilfred Kimaru said, ‘the national government and the county government have been slow in enforcing the Potato Act and our efforts to push for the enactment have been ignored.’ Potatoes worth millions of money have been rotting in farms as farmers are not willing to sell them to middlemen.
Nyandarua County Governor, Francis Kimemia however differed with them and said the county has been stepping up to address the issues facing the potato sector in the county. “My government will ensure that the 50kg rule has been implemented through the officers in the government and the Nyandarua Potato Task Force which includes directors from the Agriculture, Cooperatives, Trade and Finance departments, “he said.
The governor also said there is need to set up centres to measure the exact weight which will also help in creation of a revolving fund that will increase profits in the industry and also create employment. The county would also set up a potato cold storage facility in each sub county and establish a tuber laboratory.
“I urge farmers to set up cooperatives as they will enable them have control over middlemen and also I call upon them to engage with the county government on issues affecting the potato sector,”he said.