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Deputy President Forms Avocado Task Force Amidst Farmer Uproar Over Taxation

In response to mounting farmer discontent over proposed taxation on avocados, Deputy President Hon. Rigathi Gachagua, EGH, has taken decisive action by establishing an Avocado Task Force. This development follows a stakeholders consultative meeting convened on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, at the Deputy President’s Official Residence in Karen.

The task force, directed by Deputy President Gachagua, is charged with addressing challenges within the avocado value chain and devising solutions to propel the sector forward. Comprising representatives from both the government and stakeholders in the avocado industry, the task force is tasked with delivering a comprehensive report within 30 days.

Representatives from various sectors including farming, aggregation, shipping, and export have been appointed to the task force. Among them are Col. Dr. Jeremiah Ng’ang’a, Joshua Kering, Paul Gaute, Munyui Wanjohi (Avocado Aggregators Association of Kenya), Edward Mburu (Avocado Aggregators Association of Kenya), Okisegere Ojepat (Fresh Produce Consortium), Anthony Igogo (Fair Trade) , Elijah Njoroge, Beth Ihomba, Stephen Githiga, and Lucy Njeri.

The task force’s inaugural meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 27, 2024, at 9:00 AM at Harambee House Annex, 6th Floor Boardroom. Its mandate includes reviewing issues raised during the stakeholders meeting and devising actionable strategies to unlock the full potential of the avocado sub-sector.

Meanwhile, Mt Kenya region farmers have opposed proposed taxation on avocados as outlined in the Finance Act 2023. The uproar, witnessed across Central Kenya, has prompted legislators to reconsider their support for the controversial legislation.

The situation came to a head in Murang’a, where Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officers attempted to educate farmers on the use of the electronic Tax Invoice Management System (eTIMS). However, the gathering at Matenjagwo Stadium turned hostile as farmers and their legislative leaders vehemently opposed the taxation proposal, leading to the expulsion of the KRA officers from the meeting.

Farmers, feeling blindsided by the prospect of taxation on their avocado produce, have expressed staunch resistance to the government’s initiatives, signaling a potential standoff between agricultural stakeholders and regulatory authorities.

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