THE very first ever senate committees hearings outside Nairobi came to an end yesterday with bitter speeches by disgruntled maize farmers in Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County. The session held at the Uasin Gishu County hall saw farmers air their grievances to Senators. The bulk of the crowd was made up of Maize farmers whose problems with the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) have run all season long.
The ill tempered meeting saw farmers lay the blame squarely on young rift valley senators led by Senate leader of Majority Hon. Onesimus Murkomen and Nandi County Senator Hon. Cherargei who they accuse of being silent as they suffer.
“You young men, why are you playing with us? Why are you mishandling our affairs yet you know that our livelihoods depend squarely on the farming of this crop? Murkomen, Cherargei, We went to school with your fathers in the 1960s and they know how important this crop was in educating us and you. Why are you not protecting us? Why are you allowing these cartels mess us up? Why?”, lamented one farmer.
Another speaker lamented at the high cost of living, lack of morals and run away corruption prevalent in the country nowadays. ” Why are people playing with our livelihoods? People are stealing from farmers and now we cannot feed our families nor can we educate our children. At the moment, death is better than living in Kenya!!!” He cried.
Leaders who spoke, led by Moiben MP Hon. Sila Tiren who’s widely regarded as the maize farmers’ defender, urged the DPP to deal firmly with those who have swindled farmers.
Bungoma Senator Hon. Moses Wetangula decried the open boarder policy that has allowed maize from the region free access to the Kenyan market causing a glut. “We cannot use Kenyans’ taxes to pay Ugandan and Tanzania’s farmers and middlemen upfront while our own people wait for one year to be paid peanuts. It is wrong and immoral!!” He said. He also urged the ministries involved to rethink their policies to cushion Kenyan Farmers.