The Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers (Kenfap) CEO Kanywithia Mutunga has asked the government to consider compensating farmers in the Great Rift Valley whose maize crop was destroyed by a viral disease in most parts of the food basket areas. Ground assessments of the damage attributed by the viral disease revealed that a great percentage of this season’s produce was affected and farmers have been advised to result to burning the remaining crops as they are hazardous for both human and animal consumption. “This matter should be considered with seriousness like any other national disaster given that our food security is under threat at the moment. The government should come up with solutions on what the farmers should do so as to stand a chance of returning back to production,” said Mr. Mutunga.
Majority of the farmers who had taken huge loans hoping to make a bumper harvest are a worried lot at the moment and are seeking for government’s intervention on the matter. This turn of events comes at a time when the weatherman warned of a possibility of the country expected to experience very heavy rains in the expected season. Mr. Mutunga also highlighted that the affected lands would have to go uncultivated for the next two consecutive seasons so as to avoid occasioning a repeat of the same disaster. “Even as this maize disease keeps spreading, we never get any response from the government concerning the farmer’s grievances,” added Mutunga.
He noted that the government for a long time had showed lack of interest in the farming industry and had remained underfunded. Agricultural sector contributes about 26 percent of the national income and employs way above 70 percent of the country’s population.
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