African Press International (API)

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Kenya: Nyando rice farmers get a relief as government writes off Ksh.27M debt

Posted by African Press International on November 9, 2012

  • By  Dickens Wasonga, reporting from Kenya

As part of efforts to empower local farmers and to enhance their production capacities the government has announced it was going to write off sh.27 million that rice farmers in Nyando owed it.

Making the announcement soon after a meeting with the local Members of Parliament and the Nyanza PC Francis Mutie , the deputy commissioner of cooperatives Mr Phillip Gichuki said the decision to write off the debt will be a big relief to most farmers who have been struggling to scale up their production levels in vain.
The debt was part loans advanced to several farmers by the ministry of cooperatives over the years to boost their production capacities and was aimed at alleviating poverty levels in the area.
Local MPs have in the past lobbied the government to write off the debts to local farmers as it had done to tea and coffee farmers from other parts of the country.
Although they lauded the move by the government the area MPs led by Nyando MP Fred Outa asked the ministry to also consider writing off millions of shillings in debt owed to government by sugarcane farmers from the area as well.
Outa said doing so will enable the farmers to start production on a clean slate adding that the area has a huge potential for agricultural production which was remaining untapped due to high poverty levels.
The commissioner said the country was capable of producing enough rice to meet the country’s demand for the same but regretted that Kenya was still relying heavily on rice imports especially from Pakistan due to lack of financial muscle by most farmers.
Nyando which is prone to floods during heavy rains is known for production of rice in Nyanza and is leading in terms of sugar cane growing with at least three vibrant sugar millers operating from this sugar cane growing zone.
END.
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