Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has lauded the Bottom-up economic forums saying they provide an opportunity for residents to identify their priorities and put leaders to task on their promises.
Waiguru spoke when she hosted the Kenya Kwanza team for the Kirinyaga County edition of the forum.
The forum that was presided over by UDA Deputy President nominee Rigathi Gachagua brought together leaders and participants from various economic sectors from the county.
They included rice, coffee, tea, tomato, macadamia and fish farmers, market traders, hawkers, boda boda operators, hospitality industry players and horticultural producers among others.
The farmers said they want the next government to streamline the agricultural sector by cutting off middlemen and ensuring farmers are the main beneficiaries of their produce.
They said the next government should subsidize fertilizers and pesticides to reduce the cost of farming and put in place policies that will guarantee maximum returns.
The farmers also expressed concern on importation of cheap farm produce such as rice and tomatoes at the expense of local agriculture and lobbied for policies that will protect them against unfair bilateral trade practices.
Hosted Kenya Kwanza team led by the DP designate Hon @rigathi for the Kirinyaga County Bottom Up Economic forum. Our deliberations with the people on their economic priorities shall form part of KK Economic Blueprint. @WilliamsRuto @MusaliaMudavadi @Wetangulam @SpeakerJBMuturi pic.twitter.com/aq3nRFndpc
— Anne Waiguru EGH, OGW (@AnneWaiguru) June 21, 2022
Mwea rice farmers lamented the high cost of rice production and demanded for the cancellation of the irrigation water fee charged by Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA) terming it exploitative.
Led by Susan Ndegwa, a rice farmer in Mwea, the farmers opposed the proposed increment of water charges to 15,000 per acre saying, “WARMA does not add any value to rice farmers and should be outlawed and the management of irrigation water left to the National Irrigation Board.”
Gachagua assured the residents that the Kenya Kwanza manifesto will include views collected from Kenyans saying the Bottom up economic model is all about the empowerment of small scale business people.
He said that all the views collected from the residents will be captured in a binding document to ensure that they are implemented accordingly.
Gachagua cost of fertilizers will be brought down from the current Ksh 6,000 to Ksh 2,000 by December 2022 if Deputy President William Ruto is elected the next president in August.
He said the Kenya Kwanza Government will set aside funds that will be loaned at 5% per annum interest to save people from borrowing from exploitative lenders.
Governor Anne Waiguru said that her administration will continue supporting farmers through the county’s Wezesha Kirinyaga economic empowerment program that has been funding farmers groups to undertake various profitable agricultural activities.
She said that her government will be partnering with the UDA government when it takes over leadership to expand the Wezesha program to accommodate every household in the county.
Waiguru said she will also partner with the National Government to construct modern markets and lighting up the urban areas and streets to improve on the county’s security and enable a 24-hours economy.
She said kirinyaga is solidly solidly behind a Ruto’s presidency as well as other UDA candidates from the county.
Other leaders present in the forum included Kiharu and Starehe Members of Parliament Ndindi Nyoro and Charles Kanyi (Jaguar), Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi, UDA parliamentary and County Assembly candidates and Governor Waiguru’s running mate David Githanda.