Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has moved is seeking to pacify miraa farmers amid calls for mass demonstrations to castigate the Jubilee administration over a trade impasse with Somalia.
Over the weekend, Mr Munya traversed the miraa growing zones assuring traders and farmers that President Uhuru Kenyatta means well for the crop despite the ongoing ban of the crop in Somalia.
Dejected farmers and traders, who say more than Sh2.5 billion has been lost in the last five months, have been warming up for demonstrations to demand the resolution of the impasse with Somalia.
But speaking in Athiru Gaiti, Kanuni, Muringene, Kiengu and Miciimikuru over the weekend, Mr Munya appealed to the affected farmers to have a little more faith that President Kenyatta will unlock the impasse.
At the same time, Mr Munya told Deputy President William Ruto to keep off miraa issues, arguing that the President is on top of things.
Call to diversify
The DP has recently advised miraa farmers to diversify into other crops even as the government tries to resolve the impasse.
“President Uhuru Kenyatta is the first head of State to make miraa a cash crop and the first to include miraa in his official speech. When some counties started banning miraa, it was the President who ordered them to stop and allow free movement. He is the only one capable of addressing the current problem,” Mr Munya said.
In Kanuni in Igembe South, the Cabinet secretary addressed a chaotic meeting as locals kept shouting seeking assurance that the Somalia market would be reopened.
“We do not want Tangatanga politics in the miraa issue. Whoever is telling us to look for an alternative crop should know that miraa is the mainstay of this economy,” Mr Munya said, responding to DP Ruto’s remarks on a local TV station.
Mr Munya, who commissioned and launched various projects including markets and boreholes funded by the miraa fund, was also on the receiving end from critics for ‘relaunching’ projects done by his predecessor Mwangi Kiunjuri.
But speaking when he inspected the progress of Muringene market whose construction began in January, the CS said the project was redesigned into a two-storey building.
Mr Munya further urged farmers to join the Mwenge Miraa Sacco which he maintained will receive money from the Commodities Fund for lending.
He said the sacco has enrolled members from Nairobi, Mombasa, Tana River and Garissa counties.