NASA leaders receive rousing welcome in Eldoret, promise farmers agriculture will be top priority if elected

The leaders castigated the Jubilee Government for ignoring farmers and not doing enough to cater for the wellbeing and livelihoods of farmers.

ODM leader Raila Odinga arriving at the 64 Stadium.

NASA leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetangula and Musalia Mudavadi promised farmers at a public rally in Eldoret 64 Stadium that agriculture which is the key economic activity in the Rift Valley, will come first under their government.

“Today, a 90kg bag of maize sold Sh3,200. Under Jubilee, it fell to Sh2,800. It is only now that it is rising marginally to Sh3,000 again because of the drought and famine. NCPB is refusing to buy at Sh3400 yet they want to import maize,” Raila said.

The leaders said that for the last five years, maize farmers have posted dismal harvests because of Maize Leaf Necrosis disease and there has been no serious effort to address the problem.

Maize production

According to them in 2014, maize production in Rift Valley declined from 22 million bags in 2012 last to 17 million bags with the use of poor quality subsidized fertilizers being a lead contributer to the problem.

They blamed cheap imports which have stood in the farmers’ way to benefiting from their produce.

“Farmers lack technical advice on good agricultural practices and crop husbandry because the government withdrew agricultural extension officers,” the NASA leaders said.

Under a NASA government, the leaders said they would put more money in Agriculture, including provision of high quality and affordable fertilizers to allow farmers feed the nation without imports.

Maputo declaration

They promised that a NASA Government would meet the goal of the Maputo declaration which Kenya is a signatory which stipulates that at least 10% of the national budget goes to agriculture.

“We will allocate enough money to NCPB to purchase cereals from farmers at profitable prices. Last Financial Year, Jubilee allocation to NCPB for the purchase of Strategic Grain Reserves (SGR) came down from Sh2.7bn in 2015 to Sh1.6bn.

When NCPB is under-funded, it cannot stabilize the cereals prices. Millers and brokers then have a field day buying the produce at throwaway prices. Coming down as low as Sh1,500 per 90kg bags,” Raila said.

Eliminate brokers and corruption

Raila said that they would ensure that subsidized fertilizer reach the farmers directly and not through brokers as has been the case under Jubilee.

The leaders also promised that they will give the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) the money it requires to serve farmers.

“AFC requires at least Sh10bn for crop and development loans. In the 2016/17 budget, only Sh3bn which has been revolving was retained,” they said.

NASA leaders vowed they would deal firmly with corruption which they said is the biggest problem for agriculture in Kenya.

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