Agricultural and Food Authority (AFA) has launched a nationwide crackdown against buyers flouting potato packaging regulations stipulated in the Crops Act 2013.
Speaking in Meru, AFA director-general Kello Harsama said the authority has joined hands with various agencies and county governments to ensure full implementation of the regulations.
Enforcement of the law, he said, will insulate potato farmers from years of exploitation by brokers and cartels in the sector.
“We are coming in to save farmers who have been rendered poor by brokers and cartels who have been illegally earning from the farmers’ sweats,” Harsama said.
He added that the exercise will be rolled out to nine other potato-farming counties as well as major markets in the country including Nairobi’s Wakulima, Mombasa’s Kongowea.
The authority has set up a County Irish Potatoes Packaging Implementation Committees headed by respective County Commissioners to spearhead the enforcement mission. The team at the sub-counties level will be headed by Deputy County Commissioners.
“Potatoes have been seriously mishandled by brokers who force farmers to use extended bags hence making losses. We will sustain the implementation of the regulations exercise to ensure sanity in the sector,” said Harsama, adding that it is part of efforts by the government to reclaim the agricultural sector from unscrupulous cartels.
“We want Kenyans to be assured of regular food supply and this will be possible after we wipe out all the cartels who have invaded potatoes, carrots, tea, coffee among other agricultural crops,” he said.
The law requires that all food products for sale must be packaged in 50 kilogramme-bags, Harsama said, adding that those who flout this should be arrested and treated like any other law-breaker.
He said the authority has already sensitised farmers about the regulations through the county governments and local administrators.
Meru County Commissioner Kariuki Ngumo said they have mobilised their officers ready to enforce the regulations as stipulated in the Constitution.
The exercise is targeting all the value chains in the potato farming sub-sector.