Top Stories / Counties
Wednesday, 29 Jun 2016 18:17 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
Leaders from Embu County have accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of neglecting the region in the government’s initiative to revamp miraa farming and trade. They say the President’s Task Force on Miraa, which has 14 members, should have included at least one person from Embu County, which is a major miraa growing area.
MPs Charles Njagagua (Mbeere North) and John Muchiri (Manyatta) have also asked the President to ensure that Embu County gets a share of the Sh1.6 billion fund that he recently allocated for the sector.
Speaking at a funds-drive at Karurina Shopping Centre in Embu West Sub-County on Sunday, the two MPs decried popular assumptions that miraa farming was a preserve of Meru County. They said that Mbeere North, Mbeere South and Manyatta were the leading producers of muguka, a type of miraa.
Njagagua and Muchiri also said that the challenges faced by miraa farmers in Meru are faced by Embu farmers as well. They enumerated these as unreliable weather, lack of markets, and legal obstacles including the categorization of miraa as a harmful drug in the UK and other countries.
The leaders want President Uhuru to reconstitute the task force to reflect the diversity of miraa growing areas. “It will be unfair to discriminate Embu farmers from benefiting from the Sh1.6 billion allocated by the government for the miraa industry and also inclusion from the task force,” said Njagagua.
The President’s task force on miraa, gazette on June 17, will be chaired by Geoffrey Nchooro M’mwenda with principal secretary Richard Leresian Lesiyampe as alternate chairperson.
The main mandate of the task force is to ensure recovery of lost markets and search for new markets for miraa. It will also research on miraa agronomy, variety improvement, product development and value addition and identification of opportunities for the development of capacity among farmers and identification and establishment of demonstration farms. It will hear views from farmers, traders and relevant stakeholders.
The task also has Ntawa Muthuri as vice chairperson and Henry Ntongai Ituuru, Joseph Muturia, Solomon Odera, Isabella Nkonge, Mweria Joseph Miriti, Kinyua Geoffrey John, Kilemi Lucy Nkirote, Rimbere Peter Kinyua and Karumpu R. Rodger, Ephantus I. Njeru and George Karicha Thuranira. Joint secretaries of the task force are Jasper Mbiuki (a lawyer at the president’s office) and Philip Nyingi from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.