William Ruto promises to deal with maize cartels, lower fertiliser prices

William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto addresses a rally at Matunda Trading Centre, on the border of Uasin Gishu and Kakamega counties,  on May 8, 2022.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya

Deputy President William Ruto yesterday wrapped up his charm offensive of the Western region in Trans Nzoia County, pledging to deal with maize cartels, ensuring availability of market for farmers and removing middlemen and brokers from the chain.

The region with over 2.2 million votes is currently under the grip of the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya presidential hopeful Raila Odinga who has enjoyed enormous support since 2007, but DP Ruto is now seeking to get a slice of the pie.

Mr Odinga enjoys the support of governors Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), Wilbur Ottichilo (Vihiga), Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma) and Sospeter Ojamong (Busia) as well as Defense Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and former Trade Minister Mukhisa Kituyi .

DP Ruto, on the other hand, has pocketed Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi and his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang’ula, and will field Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka (Bungoma), Cleophas Malala (Kakamega), Chris Wamalwa (Trans Nzoia) and Alfred Agoi (Vihiga).

With the area's economic bloodline being farming, DP Ruto said more emphasis will be put on maize farming by ensuring that costs of farm inputs are reduced.

Dr Ruto said he is ready to rid the maize chain of middlemen and cartels, who benefit from the sweat of farmers. 

To increase the country’s food production, DP Ruto said his administration will introduce a national liming programme, which will ensure that soils are improved.

“We must come up with a national liming programme so that we can improve the quality of our soils. We must have fertiliser that farmers can afford. I am announcing here today that when we form the next government, we will bring down the cost of fertilizer from the current Sh6,000 to Sh2,500 per 50-kilogramme bag,” said DP Ruto.

The DP was accompanied by Mr Mudavadi, Senator Wetang’ula, Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi, governors Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu) and Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia) and MPs Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East), Mr Malala (Kakamega), Mr Wamalwa (Kiminini), Charles Njagua (Starehe), Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Mwambu Mabongah (Bumula), Robert Pukose (Endebbes), and Ferdinand Wanyonyi (Kwanza).

 On the issue of reviving the sugar sector which is on the verge of collapse, DP Ruto pledged to write off all the debts the sugar companies owe the government.

Mr Mudavadi asked President Kenyatta to stop the threats, intimidation and coercion on people who are not subscribing to Azimio.

“Some people have taken us for granted for years. This time around, they will not be dictating to us which path to take politically. Being used as if we do not have brains has come to an end in this election,” Mr Mudavadi said in a jibe aimed at Azimio chief Raila Odinga.

Mr Wetang’ula added: “We have been voting for some people for years until they are now looking down on us. They even have the audacity to tell us that they are more Luhya than us.”