Governor Jackson Mandago has asked farmers to believe in him even as a maize crisis taskforce directed for establishment by President Uhuru Kenyatta nears start of probe into irregular payments by cereals board.
Last week, President Kenyatta directed the establishment of a task force to look into corruption claims and craft a long term solution to issues haunting production of the cereal.The President appointed Mandago and his Trans Nzoia counterpart Patrick Khaemba into the force.
But speaking as he attended the burial of Mr Philip Sawe (father to Administration and Coordination Ag Chief Officer, Wilson Sawe), the Uasin Gishu Governor called for trust as the force sets up.
“I want you to believe and trust in me because I am also a farmer who knows and has felt the impact of these irregularities in production of maize,” said Mandago.
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Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Mwangi Kiunjuri will set up and chair the force, as directed by the President during the Mashujaa Day National Celebrations in Kakamega County last Saturday.
But Mandago also advocated for crop diversification, saying it is time maize farmers adopt other agricultural practises that fetch money.
“…and when we advise you to diversify by growing avocado and coffee in small portions of your land, we have made extensive research and established that there’s a breakthrough here,” says Mandago.
The Governor also lashed out on some elected leaders whom he says are going round disapproving sensitizations for diversification.
“Some leaders are busy advising you (constituents) against practicing diversity of crops.”
“This is pure sabotage when a government officer works against government plans and mark you, this is not just a plan, it is a plan to improve the economy of our constituents,” added the county boss.
Last week, Governor Mandago said some policies need to be put in place so that farmers are registered and sign business agreements with NCPB before they sow.
This, Mandago says, will ensure that farmers grow and supply government with the amount of cereal that is budgeted for. Several county officials attended the burial.