TAKE EFFECT

CS Kiunjuri warns brokers over opposition to crop regulations

Are designed to cushion Kenyans and farmers from poisonous chemicals that cause cancer.

In Summary

• CS says regulations will cut off the brokers from operations and help farmers deal directly with clients and the ministry.

• Regulations have taken almost seven years to be formulated and implemented.

Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri at Bamburi Beach Hotel on Thursday.
Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri at Bamburi Beach Hotel on Thursday.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri has warned brokers in the sector against resistance to new horticultural, pyrethrum and industrial crop regulations.

Kiunjuri said some regulations will be painful to the brokers as farmers will be able to deal directly will clients and the ministry. 

The CS spoke when he led ministry officials to meet the Senate Sessional Committee on Delegated Legislation in Mombasa on Wednesday and Thursday.

Kiunjuri said the new regulations are designed to cushion Kenyans and farmers from poisonous chemicals.

He said it is unfair for Kenya to be forced to export high-quality products to Europe, the US, Asia, and other international markets but import products with cancer-causing chemicals.

The regulations, he said, will cut the brokers from operations and help farmers including pyrethrum, horticultural, and coconut farmers reach markets easily. 

He said the regulations have taken almost seven years to be formulated and implemented.

“Standards must be kept. Rome was not built in a day. There will be resistance but somebody has to start somewhere,” he said.

Clement Muyesu, the interim head of the Miraa, Pyrethrum and Other Industrial Crops Directorate at the Agriculture and Food Authority, said the pyrethrum sector had collapsed due to lack of regulations.

“We used to produce pyrethrum on 80,000 acres of land but now we only have about 10,000 acres,” Muyesu said.

He said the new regulations will help improve the sector which has the potential to generate Sh30 billion a year.

According to AFA’s Dickson Gathuri, the highest amount Kenya has ever generated from the pyrethrum crop during its peak is Sh2.18 billion.

He said Kenya’s production of the crop has reduced from 600kg flowers per acre to the current 300kg flowers per acre.

Kenya, Gathuri said, has the potential to produce 20,000 metric tonnes of pyrethrum per year but currently only produces about 500 metric tonnes per year.

Kiunjuri said the country has been importing Sh100 billion worth of nuts and edible oils annually.

He said this could reduce if Kenya enhanced the production of the different nuts including coconut, macadamia nuts, bambara groundnuts and cashew nuts. 

The nuts and edible oils sector in the country only generates Sh14.5 billion annually but has the potential for more than Sh30 billion annually.

Kiunjuri said Kenya can exploit its full potential but there has to be some order in the sectors.

West Pokot Senator Samuel Poghisio said every part of the country needs to be consulted so as to have the country move together in policies and regulations.

The Senator, who is the chair of the Senate committee, said regulations developed should not be punitive to any farmer.

“We need to have regulations and policies that help make life easier for the Kenyan farmer and not harder,” Poghisio said. 

(edited by O. Owino)