Potato farmers in Nyandarua want Raila to intervene over harsh regulations

Potato farmers, traders, and transporters have petitioned former Prime Minister Raila Odinga to intervene and have the controversial Irish Potato regulations suspended.

Ahead of his visit to the agriculture-rich county on Saturday, the farmers noted that they were incurring huge losses due to the laws that had ended up oppressing them.

This emerged during a stakeholder meeting between the farmers and the ODM secretariat ahead of Raila’s visit.

The farmers and traders have already gone to court arguing that the regulations came into law without their involvement.

According to the stakeholder’s spokesperson George Kimani, the penalties imposed by the law were punitive, unreasonable, and not commensurate with potato farming and loading.

Kimani who is an advocate of the High Court noted that they were hopeful that Raila would intervene and have the laws suspended.

He said that they had prepared a petition which underlined the effects of the laws that were originally meant to protect the farmers.

“We hope that the former PM will engage the President and the CS for Agriculture so that this law can be shelved for now,” he said.

Kimani at the same time added that tens of contractors in the county had not been paid despite offering several services to the county, a move that had rendered many of them bankrupt.

“We fully welcome Raila in this region and we hope that this county which for years has been forgotten will benefit in terms of jobs and cabinet appointments in the next government,” he said.

ODM director of Youth affairs Benson Musungu said that they would hand over the petition to Raila ahead of the visit so that he could familiarize himself with residents’ challenges.

He admitted that the potato regulations were skewed and were oppressing farmers mainly in Nyandarua which was the country’s food basket.

Musungu noted that it was only Nyandarua County that had put into practice the 50kgs packaging rule forcing traders to ignore farmers from the region.

“In all the 15 counties that are involved in potato growing, it’s only Nyandarua that has been affected by the harsh rules and we support calls to have these regulations suspended,” he said.

The chairman of ODM in the county Dickson Manyara who is also a farmer said that their hopes lay in Raila in dealing with the punitive law.

“Ahead of the visit we assure the former PM that we are committed to peace and we are asking for his intervention so that the contractors can also be paid,” he said.


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