(President Uhuru Kenyatta at Wang’uru Stadium, Kirinyaga County moments after touring the Mwea Rice Millers (MRM))
President Uhuru Kenyatta has assured the people of central and Kenya at large about his Government’s commitment to address challenges facing farmers.
Speaking in Mwea, Kirinyaga county, Mr Kenyatta directed all government institutions to buy only locally produced rice to ensure farmers reap maximum returns from their hard work.
President Kenyatta said the government has set aside Shs 500 million as a revolving fund to ensure farmers are paid promptly once they deliver rice to their cooperative societies for onward transmission to the Kenya National Trading Corporation.
“We said when we ushered in the new year that this year we would like to address the various problems facing the farmers. We know here in Mwea there have been problems. We are working towards addressing those problems,” the President said.
He further ordered the Kenya National Trading Corporation to be buying rice from the farmers at a cost of Shs 85 per kilo of paddy instead of the current Shs 70 per kilo.
“If we do that and continue to buy the locally produced rice, as government, we will encourage private buyers to also pay more for the rice from farmers.
“It is a free market but as government we will be buying the locally produced rice at Shs 85 per kilo of paddy,” he said.
Adding his government is focused on reviving and improving the performance of rice mills so that farmers will not suffer losses because of lacking functional mills to process their produce.
“We have a hard working Agriculture CS (Peter Munya) and after a year we will be back here to see the work he has done to revive and improve the rice mills,” he said.
He also assured rice farmers that subsidized fertilizer will be sold to them directly so as to ensure they are not overcharged by middlemen.
He asked Kenya Power to lower the electricity tariff they are charging MRM to reduce the cost of milling and ordered the rice factory to ensure that farmers benefit from the savings that will accrue from the lower electricity tariffs.
The President Kenyatta, who later flagged off trucks carrying rice from farmers to the Kenya National Trading Corporation warehouses countrywide, reiterated his call for all Kenyans to embrace peace and unity.
“Peace and unity are the key ingredients for development,” President Kenyatta said, adding that peace is the legacy he wants to leave behind.
He asked politicians to shun divisive politics and instead work to consolidate peace that will ensure Kenyans live together in harmony wherever they are within the country.