Farmers union welcomes Ong’ou’s appointment to AFA board

Wednesday, March 27th, 2024 02:32 | By
Sugarcane being loaded on a tractor for transportation to factory. PHOTO/Print

A farmers’ lobby group has welcomed the appointment of Samwel Ong’ou to the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) directorate board as their representative.

Kenya National Sugarcane Federation officials led by Secretary General Killion Osur thanked the ministry for picking one of their own to serve on the AFA board.

“As farmers we have a lot of developing and pending issues in the industry. We want trusted lieutenants to champion our interests in the viable sugar industry,’’ he said.

Ong’ou was picked to represent farmers on the board by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi, early this week and gazetted as an AFA director from the Nyanza sugar belt. He will serve for a period of three years. Earlier his appointment was quashed by the High Court of Kenya after a section of farmers questioned the selection criteria.

However, Ong’ou claimed the body that took him to court on behalf of farmers did not second him for the job and hence had no legal standing to challenge his new role. Upon successful legal challenge that freed him for the new call, Linturi appointed him to the AFA board, after his name was forwarded by the Kisumu sugar belt union.

Traditionally, it is the farmers union who have the authority to nominate one of their own representatives by consensus to the Agriculture ministry thereafter then CS appoints.

The AFA directors are supposed to help regulate the industry and to address teething issues affecting cane farmers. Ong’ou, too, thanked the state for the job.

“I want to promise to do my best to serve the farmers and for the appointing authority, I owe you a debt of gratitude, with farmers behind me, will offset that debt,’’ he said.

Osur enumerated a catalogue of issues that are currently facing farmers, among them commercialisation of the mills to make more profit, clustering the sugar growing zones.

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