Tanzania’s agricultural exports like vegetables and fruits have been hiked tremendously as a ‘lesson for going to lockdown as Tanzania farmers were toiling’ alludes President Magufuli. This move disrupts the supply chain and effectively renders Tanzania’s good too expensive for the Kenyan market. This is certainly a blow to a Kenyan consumer but a big win to a Kenyan farmer who has been ignored and dismissed for a very long time.
Kenya just like Tanzania is agricultural country with same similar soil texture, weather patterns and availability of labor but for some strange reasons, we are over dependent on Tanzania goods for our markets. This is a slap in the face and the government and all the stakeholders must forthwith harness the power of the local farmer by supporting them through funding, inputs and extension support.
The Kenyan farmer has been on the receiving end of all trade injustices for example poultry farmers have had to compete with cheap imports from neighboring countries and same fate has befallen the dairy sector where the prices are perennially low as the cheap imports gives them undue disadvantage. Maize farming has been center stage of storm as the market flooded with aflatoxin-infested imports. In all these instances, it is obvious that the government has not put in any measures to protect and empower local farmers to maximize their production.
Suffice is to say the Kenyan farmer will be considered again as they are last line of defense in ensuring self-sufficiency. There is no way you can be convinced that we cannot be self-reliant while virtually all counties support various agricultural activities safe found North Eastern region part of Kenya.
President Magufuli may have hurt the Kenyan consumers with his latest directive but he has certainly uplifted the star of Kenyan farmer. From the better prices to more robust support from the government ranging from protection against undue competition and cheap imports. Kenyan farmer will be get inputs for their crops at an affordable prices and in timely manner as they are dependable and available even in the middle of pandemic. The eternal issue of middlemen taking advantage of farmers will be addressed and on the long run farmers receive their due recognition and support from all quarters.
With Kenyan farmer adequately empowered and protected by the government, we could not even need imports from Tanzania in fruits and vegetables as we can sufficiently produce sufficient ones. Both the consumer will win in the long run as the products will be easily accessible with reasonable prices.