Bungoma Senator Wafula Wakoli said that the Agriculture committee decided to involve coffee farmers in the counties so that they air out their views and understand the amendment bill that is before the floor of the house. Mr Wakoli pointed out that after the senators have discussed the bill, it will go a long way in ensuring that tea and coffee farmers benefit
By Tony Wafula
The Senate Agriculture Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries has vowed to ruthlessly deal with and dismantle brokers in the tea and coffee sectors through the amendment of the tea and coffee amendment bill. On Monday, the Senate committee held a meeting with tea and coffee farmers drawn from Bungoma County where farmers were given a chance to air out their views. The meeting was held at St. Luke’s Boys’ high school in Kimilili Constituency.
In November last year, Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi and National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula visited Mt. Elgon farm in Bungoma County where the state intends to establish a Ksh.500 million tea factory. The meeting on tea and coffee was led by Kirinyaga Senator James Murango who highlighted major transformations and benefits that come with the proposed tea and coffee bill to Counties where farmers grow tea and coffee.
On his part, Bungoma Senator Wafula Wakoli said that the Agriculture committee decided to involve coffee farmers in the counties so that they air out their views and understand the amendment bill that is before the floor of the house. Mr Wakoli pointed out that after the senators have discussed the bill, it will go a long way in ensuring that tea and coffee farmers are benefiting.
Wakoli added that the Senate Committee on Agriculture will ensure that cartels are crushed and allow farmers to sell their tea and coffee produce directly. The Ford Kenya Senator said that all the farmers’ views and proposals will be scrutinized by the senate committee members and included.
“I have been keenly following how our farmers have been actively contributing to this vital debate, all our proposals are valid, we want a broker-free Kenya,” Wakoli said. Bungoma deputy governor Jenipher Mbatiany lauded Senators for following the law moving around counties that plant tea and coffee saying that if the bill is amended it will make farmers benefit fully. However, Mbatiany assured that Governor Lusaka’s administration is behind the bold move it has assured its support towards transforming tea and coffee farming in the region.
“If we don’t come up with clear measures on how tea and coffee farmers are going to work then we may end up getting nothing, coffee farmers have suffered for a long time, the brokers time is up,” Mbatiany added. Simon Kiprono, a tea farmer in Mt. Elgon called on the government to fully support cash crop farming noting that farmers should not be separated into small-scale and large-scale.
Senator Wakoli said that Bungoma is among the counties that produce super coffee that is exported to foreign countries, to maintain the production, Wakoli urged his fellow counterparts to scrutinize the bill and pass it as it will protect the interests of farmers. Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa who was present called on the government to ensure that all tea and coffee farmers in the entire republic are treated equally. Also present at the event was Alexander Mundigi (Embu), Beth Kalunda (Nominated), Bungoma County CECM for agriculture Monica Fedha and other county and national government officials.