- They pledged full support to the President even as his administration continues putting in place strategies to kick out cartels who for long have frustrated the sectors and gradually seen the downfall of farmers.
- President Ruto affirmed that his administration will against all odds and opposition dismantle and deal ruthlessly with the cartels choking the sectors.
Mt Kenya region leaders have lauded President William Ruto for his commitment to streamlining the coffee, tea and milk sectors.
The leaders said the three agricultural products are the region’s key economic backbone and their collapse would spell doom for residents.
They pledged full support to the President even as his administration continues putting in place strategies to kick out cartels who for long have frustrated the sectors and gradually seen the downfall of farmers.
They hailed the President for assigning his deputy Rigathi Gachagua the task to lead the coffee and tea reforms saying the DP is up to the task owing to his courage and passion for the prosperity of the crops.
They spoke during a thanksgiving Sunday service at Kerugoya stadium.
President Ruto affirmed that his administration will dismantle and deal ruthlessly with the cartels choking the sectors
He said no amount of intimidation or coercion will shake his stance in freeing the sector from the hands of brokers for the benefit of the millions of farmers.
“They can come disguised and even finance the demos. We are not shaken at all by that but one thing for sure is that they will have to leave the sector. Our farmers can no longer be slaves of brokers and cartels who have taken hostage our market,” Ruto said.
Describing the cartels as arrogant and corrupt, Ruto assured DP Gachagua of his unrelenting support as he embarks on the daunting duty.
The President said the government will not impose taxation on tea in the coming financial year to enhance the value addition of the produce.
“Their day to leave the sector has dawned. We are warning them to keep off any business touching on tea, coffee and milk sectors so that our sector can bloom and all our farmers can start getting value for their sweat,” he said.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua assured the President of his readiness in tackling the menace even as he called on all farmers to support the government in achieving the desired results.
He said Ruto and himself have no personal interests in the sectors and are doing it for the interest of all farmers.
Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire decried that over the past few years’ coffee and tea farmers have become poorer than those not farming the crops due to mismanagement of the sector.
She regretted that some of the brokers have heavily infiltrated all the processing chains of the cash crops to a point of solely determining the quantity and price of the produce.
She said most buy the produce from the farmer at a throw away price only to sell the same produce at exorbitant prices thus enriching themselves at the expense of the hardworking farmers.
Mbarire said they look forward as governors to work closely with the government to provide a conducive environment for the seamless production of cash crops.
His Tharakanithi counterpart Muthomi Njuki said the only way to motivate the youth to engage in coffee and tea farming is to clean up the market. He said this will result in curbing unemployment.
Githunguri MP Gathoni Wamuchomba who is also the chair of the parliamentary coffee caucus said they will work closely with the deputy president, local farmers and other forums put in place to protect the farmers’ interests.
She regretted how the sector has become a cash cow for a few selfish individuals who have been enriching themselves despite the struggles and hard work put in by the farmers.
Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro lauded the government for the subsidised farm inputs as he expressed optimism that the guaranteed minimum returns for the farmers' produce are soon set to be realised.