Murkomen pushed for the revival of the Arror, Thwake and Kimwarer dam projects, arguing the country’s importation of agricultural products was only serving to kill the local farming industry.
“Kenya imports 90% of the rice its citizens consume yet we can produce the rice in the country. We need to complete Arror, Thwake and Kimwarer dams to help our farmers to produce enough food and ensure food security.
“The Ministry of Agriculture should provide the policy paper that informed the directive that it will no longer purchase maize from local farmers,” he added.
His arguments were echoed by Senator Kihika, who pointed out the agriculture docket headed by CS Peter Munya was currently importing 4 million bags of maize, yet the stocks from local farmers were rotting away in storage.
“One of the Big 4 Agenda is food security. The Ministry of Agriculture should buy maize from farmers and not import 4 million bags. Kenyan farmers’ maize is rotting away,” she argued.
Bomet Senator Christopher Langat weighed in asking for clarity regarding CS Munya’s position on maize imports.
“Rift Valley counties are expecting bumper harvest, it will be sad and disheartening to tell the farmers the government will not buy maize from them yet some counties in Kenya experience famine.
“Kenyan farmers must be cushioned by the government,” he asserted.
Various other leaders also weighed in on the contentious issue, with most supporting Kihika and Murkomen’s arguments.
Nandi County Kiprotich Arap Cherargei asked for a statement on the directive by the Ministry of Agriculture that it would no longer purchase maize from local farmers, to be provided to the Senate for perusal.
On May 9, High Court Justice Pauline Nyamweya suspended the government’s plan to import four million bags of maize to avert a possible food crisis in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“In the interim period and pending the hearing and determination of this case, all 41 gazetted millers are hereby restrained from releasing, distributing, selling or in any manner facilitating the use and consumption of any maize imported, pursuant to notice No 3234 dated April 17, published in a special issue of the Kenya Gazette,” her ruling reads in part.
Activist Okiya Omtatah had challenged the decision to import the maize, arguing that it did not meet the East African Community (EAC) standards.