Sunday, June 25, 2017

President Uhuru Outlines His Achievements As He Woos Mt Kenya
Sun, June 25th 2017 at 00:00 GMT

President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto address residents of Meru county at Maua stadium during a rally. (Photo: DPPS)

The Jubilee Government has taken unprecedented measures by upgrading miraa to a cash crop and making billions of shillings available to cushion farmers, President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Saturday.

The President said his administration has for the first time given miraa farmers the attention and State support denied them by previous administrations. He dismissed Opposition leader Raila Odinga’s recent pronouncements concerning miraa as insincere and belated.

He said it was surprising that Raila was feigning concern for miraa farmers when he never took any action to support them when he was Prime Minister in the coalition government.

“This is the first government that has made miraa a cash crop and today, there is no difference between coffee farmers and miraa farmers,” said Uhuru at Laare, Meru County.

The President, who was accompanied by his deputy William Ruto, said his government has allocated Sh2 billion to support the miraa sector. The money will be used to support farmers through loans to be channeled through cooperatives that will be formed once a drive to register those who produce the crop is completed.

The government has also set up a directorate under the Ministry of Agriculture to deal with affairs related to miraa farming, he said. He told residents to ignore propaganda being pushed by the Opposition about the government’d drive to register miraa farmers.

“Some people are spreading propaganda and telling farmers that the registration will be used to tax farmers. That is a lie. The truth is that the data will be used for purposes of guiding State support for the sector,” said the President.

He said the data will be used to set up cooperatives through which farmers can access loans the same way coffee and tea farmers do. The Jubilee government, he said, is also upgrading the infrastructure network to ease transportation of miraa within Kenya, besides working to improve the international market.

The President launched the construction of a road to connect Laare to Isiolo, which will reduce travelling time from four hours to only 30 minutes. The government has also allocated Sh300 million to tarmac the Kaelo-Kamukunji-Mutuati road.

“There is no government prior to the Jubilee administration that has ever done anything meaningful for miraa farmers before we came into power. They are only going round with propaganda,” said the President.

Uhuru and his entourage made stopovers at Nchiru, Kianjai, Ngundune, Laare, Mutuati, Kiongo, Kiengo and Mau on the way to Maili Tatu and Kangeta. He said there are six ongoing projects that will provide sufficient water for domestic use and irrigation once they are completed.

Regional security

“We should remain united and rally our support behind Jubilee so that the development we have started to implement in this area will continue,” he said. The water projects include the Imenti South Bulk Water Supply and Sewerage being constructed at a cost of Sh3.7 billion to serve 150,000 people, Ura Dam, which targets a population of 9,000 and is to be constructed at a cost of Sh30 million and the Sh40 million Ura Dam II to be constructed that will serve 20,000 people.

Others are the Maua Water Supply I that is being constructed at a cost of Sh380 million to serve 57,000 people, Sh900 million Mau Water Project II targeting 100,000 people and Sh40 million Thangatha Dam that will serve 10,000 people.

On security along the Meru-Isiolo border, President Kenyatta assured residents that the national government has deployed National Police Reservists to areas where crime is prevalent to beef up security.

Ruto urged voters in the region to come out in large numbers to ensure a big Jubilee win in the August 8 election. He said the choice is between the Jubilee team focused on transforming the country and an opposition that has nothing but empty rhetoric.

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