BILL IN PARLIAMENT

Proposal to register livestock will harm us — Murang'a farmers

Say that they are overburdened by the heavy taxes imposed by the government and any more will worsen the situation.

In Summary

• Those who fail to acquire the license will be liable to a fine not exceeding Sh100,000 or jail term of up to one year, or both.

• Any person who operates as a primary producer will need to apply to be registered as with the relevant agency.

James Mwangi, a farmer and Civic Renewal Party chairman.
James Mwangi, a farmer and Civic Renewal Party chairman.
Image: ALICE WAITHERA
James Mwangi, a farmer and Civic Renewal Party chairman.
James Mwangi, a farmer and Civic Renewal Party chairman.
Image: ALICE WAITHERA

A section of farmers from Murang’a county has opposed a proposal by the Agriculture ministry to have livestock registered.

The proposal contained in the Livestock Bill 2019, they said, will greatly affect the lives of millions of small scale farmers and the nomadic communities.

The farmers say that they are overburdened by the heavy taxes imposed by the government and any more will worsen the situation.

Led by James Mwangi, the farmers noted that it is a taboo for some communities to count their livestock and that the provision will go against their traditions.

The law prohibits citizens from operating as service providers, producers or traders in the livestock without registering with the government.

Those who fail to acquire the license will be liable to a fine not exceeding Sh100,000 or jail term of up to one year, or both.

Any person who operates as a primary producer will need to apply to be registered as with the relevant agency.

The registered primary producer may qualify for a guaranteed minimum returns subsidy but subsistence livestock farmers will be exempted from the provisions.

Mwangi, however, said the law is draconian and asked Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri to review it.

He threatened to mobilise livestock farmers from all over the country to the Ministry’s headquarters in two weeks should their demands not be heard.

Mwangi is also the chairman of the Civic Renewal Party which is associated with Governor Mwangi wa Iria. 

“Our party will drive millions of livestock into Nairobi city as we demand that the government does away with the section,” he said.

Mwangi said that the livestock trade is done at the grassroots level and it will be punitive to require farmers to acquire a license to keep or purchase livestock.

“The livestock business is based on goodwill in the villages. You cannot tell farmers that they will now have to have a license to sell their hides and skins or pay fines,” he said. 

He said that the law did not undergo public participation as required by the Constitution before being tabled in Parliament. 

Peter Mbugua, a human rights activist, said it was unfortunate that the ministry can come up with such provisions that serve to make the lives of Kenyans worse.

He said agriculture should be the most subsidised sector as it supports the majority of Kenyans.

Mbugua appealed to MPs to ensure the bill does not sail through because it is not beneficial to Kenyans.

(O.O)