Photo: Hon Musalia Mudavadi has been consistent on what government needs to do to revive a collapsing economy
Our hard-working farmers are asking for protection from cartels NOT handouts .Farming is sheer hardwork, I was brought up on a farm so I know what it means . CS Munya you reined your guns on the cartels in the tea & maize industry please we need you to turn those guns to cartels who frustrate fresh produce farmers who are now choosing to abandon farming all together
In Mombasa I took time to speak to traders at Kongowea market and the stuff I was told shocked me it was even worse at Wakulima market in Nbi where cartels call the shots .
While farm inputs in Kenya are taxed like there is no tommorow Uganda and TZ is the opposite . We cannot tax ourselves to prosperity and that is one basic economic lesson that our govemrnet must understand. A time will come when there is no one to tax.
As a farmer you may have overcome all the hurdles only to be confronted by bloody cartels at Kongowea and even bigger mafia at Wakulima market .
Two of the chaps who supply hotels told me how each produce has its own bunch of gangs. There is a specific cartel for tomatoes , potatoes , cabbages etc
He said despite trading at Kongowea for the past 30 years he cannot bring a lorry of tomatoes from his farm from up country without a clearance from the cartels . If you dare do that ” Utakula tomato yako”.
Surely are we wartorn country ? We allow thugs to control the supply chain ? They wait at the tail end to take the cream . Our county inspectorate and askaris will pounce on you on flimsy grounds but allow thugs to rule the fresh produce market . A policeman will be ruthless when they find a Kenyan on street rushing to get home to beat the curfew timings . Where are they when it comes to this ? How can we brag to be a land of rule of law ?
My contact told me how a cartel member will walk into Kongowea with Ksh100 Bob but walk out with Ksh20,000 because they also steal openly from the traders . He recalls a female relative who brought 3000 cabbages but she could not account for 600 pcs and she was left holding less revenue compared to what she had invested . She cried all evening and she never came back to Kongowea. These thugs roam the markets and will angle for a fight if you don’t play ball and they love chaos and half of your delivery will disappear into thin air. The traders find it safer to pay them for “protection” . This should NEVER have been allowed to happen in the first place.
To my President , let’s not aim for bigger things in our Agenda 4 Agriculture when we cannot even protect our hard working fresh produce farmers.
My contact says it’s Pain Pain Pain . Many young farmers have decided never again and that is the reason we are left at the mercy of TZ and UG supplies.
We have failed our farmers . They are not asking for free handouts . They are only asking for protection from these leeches .
I leave you with this quote ” Once in life you need a doctor , lawyer , a policeman or a preacher but everyday , three times a day you need a farmer”
Please join me to applaud our farmers and it’s about time we protect them from these cartels .
As always I choose to remain an optimist
By Mohammed Hersi in Mombasa via Facebook