President Uhuru Kenyatta has assured Kenyans of the Government’s commitment to addressing challenges facing farmers countrywide.
Speaking on the rice sector, the President directed all government institutions to buy only locally produced rice to ensure farmers reap maximum returns from their hard work.
President Kenyatta said the government has set aside Ksh 500 million as a revolving fund to ensure farmers are paid promptly once they deliver rice to their cooperative societies for onward transmission to the Kenya National Trading Corporation.
“We said when we ushered in the New Year that this year we would like to address the various problems facing the farmers. We know here in Mwea there have been problems. We are working towards addressing those problems,” the President said.
President Kenyatta spoke today at Wanguru Stadium in Kirinyaga County after touring the Mwea Rice Millers (MRM)on the second of day of his working visit of Central Kenya region that also saw him visit Nyandarua County yesterday to launch several development projects.
The Head of State also ordered the Kenya National Trading Corporation to be buying rice from the farmers at a cost of Ksh 85 per kilo of paddy instead of the current Ksh 70 per kilo.
“If we do that and continue to buy the locally produced rice, as government, we will encourage private buyers to also pay more for the rice from farmers.
“It is a free market but as a government we will be buying the locally produced rice at Ksh 85 per kilo of paddy,” he said.
The President said the government is focused on reviving and improving the performance of rice mills so that farmers will not suffer losses because of lacking functional mills to process their produce.
“We have a hardworking Agriculture CS (Peter Munya) and after a year we will be back here to see the work he has done to revive and improve the rice mills,” he said.
The President assured rice farmers that subsidized fertilizer will be sold to them directly so as to ensure they are not overcharged by middlemen.
He asked Kenya Power to lower the electricity tariff they are charging MRM to reduce the cost of milling and ordered the rice factory to ensure that farmers benefit from the savings that will accrue from the lower electricity tariffs.