Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago has asked farmers to believe in him as a maize crisis taskforce directed for establishment by President Kenyatta nears start of probe into irregular payments by cereals board.
Last week, President Kenyatta directed the establishment of the task force to look into corruption claims and craft a long term solution to issues haunting production of maize. The President appointed Governor Mandago and his Trans Nzoia counterpart Governor Patrick Khaemba into the force.
Speaking on Thursday, Governor Mandago appealed for trust as the force sets up.
“I want you to believe and trust in me because I am also a farmer who knows and has felt the impact of these irregularities in production of maize,” said Mandago.
Cabinet Secretary in charge of Agriculture Mwangi Kiunjuri will set up and chair the force, as directed by President Kenyatta during the Mashujaa Day National Celebrations in Kakamega last Saturday.
At the same time, Governor Mandago advocated for crop diversification, saying it is time maize farmers adopt other agricultural practises that fetch money.
“When we advise you to diversify by growing avocado and coffee in small portions of your land, we have made extensive research and established that there’s a breakthrough here,” said Mandago.
The Governor also lashed out at some elected leaders whom he says are going round disapproving sensitizations for diversification.
“Some leaders are busy advising you [farmers] against practicing diversification of crops. This is pure sabotage when a government officer works against government plans and mark you, this is not just a plan, it is a plan to improve the economy of our constituents,” added Mandago.
Last week, Governor Mandago said some policies need to be put in place so that farmers are registered and sign business agreements with NCPB before they sow.
This, Mandago says, will ensure that farmers grow and supply government with the amount of cereal that is budgeted for.