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State alarmed by rampant accidents involving miraa drivers

Agriculture CAS says some drivers transporting miraa to various parts of the country drive recklessly

In Summary
  • Nyaga called on sub-sector players including officials of farmers unions and saccos to look for ways of stemming the menace.
  • She proposed registration of all the drivers and their vehicles so that they can be acted upon if found in the wrong.
Agriculture CAS Ann Nyaga inspects a new miraa stall at Muraru in Mbeere
Agriculture CAS Ann Nyaga inspects a new miraa stall at Muraru in Mbeere
Image: REUBEN GITHINJI

The government has raised the alarm over rampant fatal accidents caused by speeding muguka transporters.

Agriculture Chief Administrative Secretary Ann Nyagah said some of the drivers transporting the stimulant to various parts of the country drive recklessly causing accidents.

She called on sub-sector players including officials of farmers unions and Saccos to look for ways of stemming the menace. She proposed registration of all the drivers and their vehicles so that they can be acted upon if found in the wrong.

She said miraa is currently doing well after the government declared it a cash-crop before pumping in millions of shillings and forming a task force to streamline it.

Nyaga said it would be sad to see muguka farmers and other dealers celebrating but on the other hand other people mourning owing to the deaths occasioned by the drivers.

Jerevasio Nyumbaakothe, the chairman of Mbeere Embu Miraa Farmers Cooperative Union, disclosed that key players had met and agreed no driver should drive at a speed of more than 100km per hour to avoid accidents.

Nyaga spoke when she launched three miraa sheds and earth dams in Embu county, which were constructed following recommendations of the miraa task force formed in 2018 after President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive.

She said the government has set aside Sh48.6 million for the construction of seven miraa selling sheds in Mbeere as it puts efforts to improve the production of the crop.

During the inspection tour of the miraa sheds in Mbeere South, she noted that construction of three of the market centres was complete and ready for operations.

Nyaga also observed that in an effort to boost production of khat the government has set aside Sh53 million as a seed grant to miraa farmers with a low interest of three per cent.

The CAS noted that the grant that will be disbursed through the Mbeere Embu Miraa Farmers Cooperative Union will help farmers boost miraa production.

Nyaga said the government is targeting small-scale miraa farmers whose borrowing capacity will range between Sh10,000 and Sh100,000.

A farmer will have the leeway to channel the money to other forms of agriculture, which will allow them to diversify.

On cushioning the miraa farmers from the challenge of scarcity of water, the CAS said the government is in the process of constructing five earth dams and digging two boreholes in Mbeere.

She lauded the farmers in Embu for forming Saccos which are crucial in accessing government funding.

Nyaga said the ministry has consulted the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation to conduct studies on suitable chemicals for use in miraa to make them safe for consumption.

 

Edited by Henry Makori