BLOW TO SMALL GROWERS

Muslim clerics say no to proposed agriculture rules

In Summary

•Why criminalise the use of animal manure? ask Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya

•The regulations are a death sentence to poor farmers

Muslim clerics are opposed to the proposed Crops (Food Crops) Regulations, 2018, law seeking to tighten regulations on food production, processing, marketing, imports, and exports.

The Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya said the regulations will hurt  small-scale farmers.

The law criminalises the use of animal manure.

“There are farmers who cannot afford those fertilisers. They can only afford animal manure because they rear the animals,” said CIPK organising secretary Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa.

The cleric, who was speaking in his office, described the regulations as a death sentence to poor farmers and asked the Agriculture ministry to look for ways to empower the small-scale farmers instead of coming up with oppressive laws.

Farmers will not be allowed to grow crops near locations prone to soil, air and water contamination should Parliament pass the bill.

The draft bill is the work of several organisations among them the ministry of Agriculture, the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) and county governments.

 

Khalifa claimed a cartel was pushing the passing of the bill after identifying in it a business opportunity.

“They want to be the ones to sell fertilisers to farmers. Why would one want to stop the use of manure in favour of chemical fertiliser?” asked the cleric.

 

AFA manager of regulations and compliance Beatrice Nyamwamu said the bill will bring order in the sector.

Nyamwamu said: “Before you go into irrigation, let your water be analysed. This will protect you from losses should the produce be later condemned for having been grown in polluted or contaminated water.”