- Trade CS Kuria has already given a nod for the importation but said the six-month window will see only traders and other wiling people allowed to import.
- On GMOs, the farmers said the government should have given time for public participation and sensitisation before allowing the same into the country.
Farmers in the Rift Valley have demanded a meeting with Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi over the importation of maize and the move to introduce GMOs in the country.
The farmers have termed the two issues very critical to their livelihoods and the entire agriculture sector.
The producers joined the debate on maize importation, urging the government not to allow the imports at this time, when they are busy harvesting their crop.
Farmer’s representatives led by David Kiberenge, Samwel Korogoren, Kipkorir Menjo and Thomas Koech said it was unwise for the government to allow maize imports when most of the farmers are harvesting.
Koech said already, ships carrying maize were docking in Mombasa and that the imports would soon flood the markets and hurt local farmers.
He said the government should first buy all the maize from farmers in the country before allowing imports.
“We have not had a situation where the government allows imports when we are harvesting and we are now wondering what is the hurry because we currently have adequate maize in this country,” Kiberenge said.
The farmers said the government should wait until February next year to determined if there will be any shortages of maize before deciding to allow in the imports.
Farmers estimate they will harvest nearly 40 million bags of maize in the country this year, which they said will be almost adequate for the food requirements.
“We understand the current famine situation but it would have been wise for the government to wait until we know if there will be any deficits before allowing importation,” Kiberenge said.
The farmers have denied reports they are hoarding more than 20 million bags of maize at the moment, thus causing shortages that have pushed the government to allow imports.
Trade CS Moses Kuria has already given a nod for the importation but said the six-month window will see only traders and other wiling people allowed to import, but not the government.
On genetically modified organisms, the farmers said the government should have given time for public participation and sensitisation before allowing the same into the country.
“As farmers, we are largely in the dark about GMOs and we think the government should have consulted widely before deciding on the sensitive mater,” Kiberemge said.
The Cabinet has already approved the introduction of GMOs into the country but the farmers said they fear the move will have negative health risks for Kenyans.
They added they were still able to produce adequate quality foods for the country and President Willaim Ruto should stop the plan on GMOs.
(edited by Amol Awuor)