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North Rift Jubilee MPs to stage protests over Sh4.2 billion debt

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The government has been accused of failing to honor the deal.

play DP William Ruto, President Uhuru's political adviser Joshua Kutuny and Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba earlier. (DPSS/File)

A section of Jubilee MPs from North Rift have threatened to take to the streets together with farmers in the area over pending debt of over Sh4.2 billion owed by the National Cereals and Produce Board.

Led by Cherangani MP Mr Joshua Kuttuny, the team said on Sunday that efforts to have the Treasury release fund have been futile.

“We have tried diplomacy so that farmers are paid but we have not succeeded. We will now join farmers in public demonstrations,” Kuttuny said in Eldoret town.

The farmers have plans to use lorries and tractors to block the busy Eldoret-Kitale road should the Ministry of Agriculture and Treasury fail to the farmers’ dues which are in arrears since December 5.

“Farmers are delaying in preparations for this year’s planting season and if that continues, very few will go back to farming,” the lawmaker said.

Series of meetings

Mr Kuttuny revealed that they met officials from the Agriculture ministry and Treasury but promises to pay the money had not been honoured. Kuttuny’s sentiments have been supported by Moiben MP Silas Tiren and other legislators from maize-growing areas in the North Rift.

play Farmers representatives after a meeting in Eldoret on February 9. (Courtesy)

Treasury has been withholding more than Sh4.2 billion required to pay farmers. Some have protested against the delay to pay them. The farmers, led by Kimutai Kolum and Kipkorir Menjo, said the government has reneged on its promise to pay them promptly.

“If they continue withholding the money we will not be able to plan on how to buy farm input for the next planting season,” Kolum said in Eldoret town.

Agriculture PS Richard Lesiyampe has said the state will release the money this week. “We will pay them as soon as possible because they have to start preparations for the next planting season,” he said on the phone.

The NCPB planned to buy about two million bags of maize using the Sh6 billion set aside. The board was allowed to surpass the plan and buy more than 2.7 million bags worth more than Sh8 billion. It has paid half of the farmers’ dues.

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