Governor Kihika faults flower farmers for low wages

She accuses Senate of failing to enact laws to protect the workers

In Summary
  • Naivasha has over 40 flower farms
  • Majority of the workers are women
Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika opens the Naivasha Public park during a tour of the town.
Governor Kihika Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika opens the Naivasha Public park during a tour of the town.
Image: George Murage

Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika has put on spot flower farmers in the county for poorly paying their workers despite working in harsh conditions.

The Governor also faulted the Senate for failing to enact laws that would address the low wages and poor working conditions that the workers were working in.

This emerged during a development tour of Naivasha which ended in Karagita estate which is home to hundreds of flower farm workers.

For years, the farmers have been accused of underpaying their workers despite working in harsh conditions, an allegation they have denied noting that they are highly taxed by the government.

According to Kihika, the floriculture sector was one of the top foreign exchange earners in the country but the workers had nothing to show for it.

Addressing the workers, she challenged the Senate to move with haste and enact laws that would compel the farmers to pay their workers better.

“We have some senators whose work is politics throughout the year instead of enacting laws that address the plight of the flower farm workers,” she said.

Kihika at the same time said that she had met the organizers of the World Rally Championship (WRC) ahead of the global event in Naivasha in two weeks.

She said that they had agreed that local youths would get the priority in terms of job opportunities, unlike past years when they were given a raw deal.

“In the last couple of years local youths have been sidelined when it came to job opportunities but things will be different this year,” she said.

Naivasha East MCA Stanley Karanja noted that flower farmers had ignored the minimum wage as per the law and were instead paying workers peanuts.

He noted that many of the workers had suffered from the effects of chemicals used in the farms adding that their working conditions should be addressed.

“We have a lake in Naivasha that is benefiting a few and it's time that the county looked into the issue of arbitrary arrests and restocking,” he said.

Lakeview MCA Alex Mbugua added his voice to the debate noting that despite earning billions of shillings, farmers had continued to pay their workers poorly.

On his part, Viwandani MCA Mwangi Muraya noted that they were looking forward to the World Rally Championship after the organizers promised job opportunities for local youths.

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