By Dennis Bett
Farmers from the North Rift region have welcomed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s order to revamp the Kenya Farmers Association (KFA).
The KFA Director, Kipkorir Menjo, accompanied by other farmers’ representatives, Jackson Chemweno and Joseph Tanui, said the President’s order was long overdue.
Menjo said farmers representatives from Uasin Gishu County will be travelling to Nairobi to meet the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Mwangi Kiunjuri over the planned revamping of the moribund association so that it can begin serving the interest of farmers again.
He noted that the President’s move was in the right direction because KFA, which is owned by farmers, will enable them to source their own farm inputs at cheaper cost.
Talking to Sacco Review recently in Eldoret Chemweno said buying of farm inputs at the facility was cheaper unlike now where private dealers are enjoying monopoly when the government delayed to supply subsidized fertilizer to farmers.
Chemweno said overtime the cost of farm inputs has sharply risen beyond the reach of most farmers because unscrupulous businessmen were taking advantage of the gap after the collapse of KFA.
President Kenyatta issued the directive during the Ushirika Day celebrations, when he asked CS Kiunjuri to immediately embark on plans to revive KFA and the Kenya Planters Cooperative Union (KPCU) to serve farmers’ interests.
KFA’s assets including land and warehouses valued at over Sh.10 billion were sold to repay debts amounting to more than Sh.2 billion.
The association was incorporated in 1923 and it performed its role as a distributor of farm inputs as well as a marketing body even after Kenya attained independence. Famers were assured of inputs whether or not they had money as KFA advanced them affordable credit.
However, when the government meddled with the farmers’ organization in 1984 later winding it up and putting in its place, the Kenya Grain Growers Co-operative Union (KGGCU), against the wishes of its members, KFA died with the hopes of farmers as KGGCU failed miserably to deliver.
The government changed tact and wound up KGGCU in 1996, reverting it back to KFA that by then was a shell of its former self.