Agriculture body up in arms over potato packaging in nine counties
Agricultural Food Authority (AFA) has launched a nationwide crackdown against cartels flaunting potato packaging regulations in a bid to curb farmers’ exploitation by unscrupulous traders.
Speaking in Meru, County AFA Director General Kello Harsama said the authority has joined hands with county governments to ensure the stipulated Irish potatoes regulations are fully implemented.
He added that the 50kg packaging regulations as per Crop Act 2013, must be adhered to. "We are out in full force because we want to save farmers from exploitations by these cartels.
He says crackdown, which kicks off on Thursday, is targeting potato growing zone in nine counties and major markets to benefit farmers who have been impoverished by brokers and cartels in the sector.
"We are in full gear to revive agriculture sector which has been for many years explored by cartels because there is no way we can sit down and watch the sector sink to benefit a few corrupt individuals. We are out to save farmers and also the sector because we cannot wait to import products from other countries when we produce the best here,” he added.
He further asserted that the authority has put in place County Irish Potatoes Packaging implementation committees headed by respective county commissioners and local administrators to help fully implement the law.
“Potatoes have been seriously mishandled by brokers who force farmers to use extended bags hence making losses. We are coming in to end this trend and we will sustain the regulations’ implementation exercise in order to ensure sanity in the sector,” said Director.
He said they were doing everything at their disposal to ensure they save the agricultural sector from greedy cartels who have apparently held it hostage.
“Kenyans need to benefit from regular food supply and this will be possible by ensuring we wipe out all the cartels who have invaded potatoes, carrots, tea, coffee among other agricultural crops,” he noted.
However, George Muthee a potato trader at Gakoromone air Market in Meru expressed concern over the rules saying the law may affect farmers more than the traders and the consumers.