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State starts enforcing 50kg potato packaging law

By Nicholas Waitathu
Wednesday, May 12th, 2021 00:00 | 2 mins read
Potato farming. Photo/File

Potato dealers face three years in jail and Sh5 million fine if they violate Crops (Irish Potatoes) Regulations 2019, Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) has warned.

Transporters on the other hand if caught moving the produce packed in extended bags contrary to the 50kg rule will be jailed for three months and a fine of Sh500,000.

The authority has already launched a nationwide crackdown on traders using unethical business practices in the Sh50 billion industry.  

Government insists that the maximum weight for each single unit of package of irish potatoes shall be 50kg, a departure from current and past scenarios where traders use extended bags of up to 110 kilogrammes.

Illegal activities

Launching the countrywide crackdown targeting traders not abiding by the regulations in Meru county last week, AFA Acting Director General Kello Harsama said the the government will not relent on taming illegal activities by unscrupolous traders who have subjected farmers to numerous agonies.

“The government’s idea is to ensure potato business is efficiently done with all the value chains benefiting equally.

We are working with all the value chains including farmers and traders to ensure the regulations are implemented to the letter,” he said.

Contradiction of the same, he added, will attract stiff penalties including seizing, detaining and disposing or destroying consignments imported into the country.

Harsama said the abuses – use of extended bags, market segmentation and price manipulation have for long denied farmers their hard-earned cash. 

Potato Council of Kenya (PCK) and cooperative unions has supported the new regulations, saying farmers stand to benefit a lot as the gaps along the value chain will be fully dealt with.  

Chris Marete, a board director with the council said that potato business for long has been grappling with poor regulatory framework and marketing challenges.

Value chain

“We are supporting the government in its endeavour to enforce the new regulations as part of the long strategy to fill the  numerous gaps along the value chain,” he said.

Nicholas Waitathu

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