Nyandarua MCAs demand more slots on potato task force

potatoes

Bags of potatoes weighing more than 80kg packed by the roadside in Mariashoni, Nakuru County, on January 5, 2021. 

Photo credit: John Njoroge | Nation Media Group

Nyandarua County ward representatives have protested that only one person from the region was included in the 16-member National Potato Task Force.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya formed the team to review production costs and propose changes, naming Nyandarua Agriculture executive Dr James Karitu as a member.

But members of the county assembly (MCAs) argued that Nyandarua produces a third of the potatoes grown in Kenya and had been shortchanged in the appointment of the team's members.

Majority Leader Sambigi Mukuria argued that the county should have been allocated more slots.

In a statement, Mr Mukuria, the Githioro MCA, questioned why Nyandarua got only one slot while Meru had six slots in appointments announced by Mr Munya in a Kenya Gazette notice.

“Our leaders should lobby the National Assembly and Senate to push for Nyandarua to get more slots in the task force,” he said.

Speaker Ndegwa Wahome directed the assembly clerk to write a letter to Mr Munya to convey the MCAs’ concerns.

Nyandarua leaders have argued that Dr Karitu will sit on the task force by virtue of the office he holds and legitimate farmers should be added to the task force to represent growers’ interests.

The team, mandated to examine the adequacy of existing legal and regulatory frameworks in supporting the development of the potato value chain, will be chaired by Mr Wachira Kaguongo.

The other members include Mr Daniel Miriti, chair of the Nakuru Potato Co-operative Union; Mr Christopher Marete, chairman of the Meru Potato Cooperative Union; Mr Thomas Nyongesa, Tigon KARLO Centre director; Ms Dinah Borus, of International Potato Centre; and Ms Naomi Kamau, from the State Department of Crop Development and Research. 

Others are Mr Theophilus Mutui of Kephis, Mr John Kobia Ataya, Ms Anita Mbae, Ms Janet Mwangi, Warehouse Receipt Systems CEO Samuel Ogolla, Ms Josephine Mbeo, Agriculture ministry director of communications, and Ms Terry Gathagu, a legal expert).

Mr Leonard Kubok will be secretary, while Milton Munialo and Nicholas Kunga will be assistant secretaries.

The ministry said the appointees will “develop a roadmap for effective implementation of the potato regulations including organized potato marketing and export options; develop modalities on the promotion of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) within the potato value chain and building on the steps already undertaken to establish coordination mechanism of potato growing counties for improved performance of the potato value chain”.

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