Avocado farmers in Murang'a county have praised the local government for drafting a bill to control the sector, eliminate middlemen and increase their profits. The farmers said on Tuesday the bill that has been tabled in the county assembly will restore order to the sector that generates Sh5 billion (€43.7 mln) in the county every year.
They said the law will improve their earnings by allowing them to sell directly to buyers, doing away middlemen. It will allow the county to establish avocado collection centres and control harvesting periods to curb immature harvesting.
Farmer James Marigi said he has been selling his fruits to a company that pays Sh10 per fruit regardless of the size. He added that, however, most local farmers have been selling to brokers at Sh5 per piece. The proposed law will compel buyers to buy his fruits according to their size, earning him more money. The middlemen fuel avocado theft, causing youths to raid farms and steal the fruits at night and on Sundays when the farmers are in church.
"When the sector remains uncontrolled, farmers are left at the mercy of brokers who buy fruits at a throwaway price," Marigi said, adding that the law will prevent middlemen from exploiting farmers.
Lines being drawn
According to an article on nation.co.ke, Murang’a governor Mwangi Wa Iria is on one side and Senator Irungu Kang’ata and middlemen on the other over the Murang’a County Avocado Processing and Marketing Bill 2020.
The senator and the middlemen believe that the Bill negates the free market ideals because of its proposal to have all the buyers and traders to post their contractual agreement to the county, Mr Wa Iria accuses the senator of working in cahoots with the middlemen to prevent his administration from coming up with measures to protect avocado farmers from exploitation.