Fraudsters targeting Mwea farmers
What you need to know:
- Area Member of Parliament Mr Njogu Barua said the conmen were asking farmers to give them money if they wanted assistance.
- Mr Barua told the more than 600 farmers who are affected by the project to be wary of the fraudsters who are now on the loose.
- The government has set aside Sh5 billion for compensation purposes.
Fraudsters are targeting farmers in the expansive Mwea Irrigation Scheme who are being compensated by the government to give way for the construction of a Sh12billion water dam.
The dam is intended to help in rice irrigation.
They are approaching the farmers at Rukenya village in Gichugu constituency pretending they would assist them get faster compensation for their farms.
Area Member of Parliament Mr Njogu Barua said the conmen were asking farmers to give them money if they wanted assistance.
Mr Barua said some of the farmers had fallen prey to the fraudsters who invaded the village immediately the compensation exercise started.
“Sadly some of the fraudsters are lawyers. They are fleecing my people,” he told the press Thursday at the National Irrigation Board offices in Ngurubani, Kirinyaga County.
He had gone to check on the progress of the compensation process.
Mr Barua told the more than 600 farmers who are affected by the project to be wary of the fraudsters who are now on the loose.
The MP said farmers have been flocking his constituency office complaining that they had lost large sums of money to the conmen.
He told the NIB officials who are charged with the role of compensation to give advice to the farmers so that they do not continue losing their money.
So far 164 farmers have been compensated and are vacating their farms.
The farmers are getting between Sh5million and Sh30million in compensation.
The government has set aside Sh5 billion for compensation purposes.
The dam whose construction is scheduled to kick off next year will open up 22,000 extra acres for rice irrigation at Mutithi area at the Mwea plains.
Currently there are only 18,000 acres under irrigation which are not sufficient to produce enough rice for local consumption.
The government plans to triple rice production to discourage imports which hurt local farmers.
Kenya produces 100,000 tons of rice annually which is not enough as Kenyans consume 400,000 tons.
The deficit is imported from Pakistan and other countries to cater for the rising population.
Recently, Agriculture Principal Secretary Ms Sicily Kariuki toured the Mwea Scheme which is the country’s rice granary and said it has the potential to produce enough rice.
She said it was sad that the country continued importing cheap rice yet farmers were capable of growing sufficient rice to meet the increasing demand.
Ms Kariuki said the dam if completed would bring to an abrupt end the perennial rice shortage in the country.