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AFA move to axe cartels in potato business

By Nicholas Waitathu
Thursday, May 6th, 2021 00:00 | < 1 min read
Potato farming. Photo/File

The Ministry of Agriculture yesterday launched a nationwide crackdown targeting traders violating the Irish potatoes 50kg rule to inhibit cartels and middlemen.  

Under the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), the exercise kicked off in Meru County targeting corrupt traders and other crooked value chain players. 

Traders contravening the Crops (Irish potatoes) Regulations 2019 will be arrested and arraigned for defying Cap 16 of the Crops Act 2013, which banned packaging of the produce in extended bags.

“Agriculture sector has for long being under the control of the cartels and unscrupulous traders thus denying farmers their hard earned sweat.

Currently, our mission as the Government is to reclaim the sector from the hands of the immoral players,” said AFA acting director general Kello Harsama.

This is meant to ensure commodities are traded based on the current rules and in a manner that guarantee level playing ground.

“For long we have witnessed farmers harvesting their potatoes and required to package them in 50kg bag but the cartels and brokers force them to package in extended bags, denying them an opportunity to earn good prices. This is outright theft,” he warned. 

Traders were required to adhere to the regulations on packaging from April 2 this year when the law was to take effect however, most of them are yet to comply, prompting the authority to start the crackdown.

AFA has gazetted 150 enforcement officers in 10 potato growing counties who will be assisted by police officers and county administration officers to enforce this law.  

Julius Kirimi the chairman of Fresh Produce association in Gakoromone market called for more public participation of the regulations to avoid business disruption.

Nicholas Waitathu

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