Govt will seek solutions to cheap imports, says President Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) and Nyeri governor Ndiritu Gachagua (centre) acknowledge greetings from Karatina residents in Nyeri County May 21, 2013. President Kenyatta pledged his government will seek solutions to cheap imports to protect farmers. JOSEPH KANYI

President Uhuru Kenyatta has pledged his government will seek solutions to cheap imports to protect farmers.

President Kenyatta said government was expanding rice irrigation farming in Mwea at the tune of Sh13 billion and farmers should be protected from unfair competition.

"We shall look into this issue to ensure our farmers get good markets for their produce," he said during a stopover at Sagana town in Kirinyaga County Tuesday.

"There is no need of embarking on such a major project to increase rice production and fail to address the plight of the farmers who work hard to earn a living," he said.

The President observed that rice growers produced the best quality rice that is reputed worldwide and the government will find ways of helping farmers reap maximum benefits.

The President was responding to remarks by Kirinyaga Governor Joseph Ndathi that cheap imports had flooded the markets making it hard for rice farmers to get buyers for their popular pishori rice variety.

Mr Ndathi said few tycoons were importing rice at the expense of the farmers and asked the President to intervene.

"Our farmers are suffering because cheap rice imported by tycoons is the one which is selling fast. Your government should move in fast and stop the flow of imports into our County," Mr Ndathi told the President amid loud applause from locals.

Senator Daniel Karaba echoed the Governor's sentiments saying the situation was serious.

President Kenyatta said the Kutus-Kerugoya-Karatina road would be repaired soon. He agreed with the Governor that it had taken long to repair the road even after Sh841million was allocated for the project.

The President expressed concern over frequent accidents on the busy Sagana road and ordered that bumps be erected.

"We should not continue losing the lives along this route. The accidents can be prevented through taking safety measures," he said.

The Head of State told central Kenya leaders to stop wrangling over supremacy. He said elections were over and leaders should unite and deliver on their mandate.

He said what the electorate want is not wrangling but development, which will uplift their living standards.

President Kenyatta underscored the need for County governments to start adding value to tea and coffee to generate more funds for development and benefit the farmers.

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