Brokers have invaded Mt Kenya region and are exploiting miraa farmers by buying their produce cheaply.
According to the president-elect of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Richard Ngatia, the brokers are buying the farmers' produce at throwaway prices, making it hard for them to make profit.
"The middlemen are offering poor prices for miraa and the farmers can't break even. The matter is very serious," he told traders Saturday in Embu town.
He said that urgent measures should be taken to protect the farmers who depend on the produce for survival from exploitation.
Mr Ngatia expressed fears that the farmers may be disillusioned and abandon the farming if they continue earning peanuts for their produce.
The president-elect said farmers should be assisted to market their produce directly without going through the brokers who have pitched tent in Meru, Embu and other parts of the region where miraa is grown in large scale.
He said KNCCI is ready to link the farmers to markets to save them from continuous exploitation.
"Farmers should have a common collection centre where their produce can be picked for direct marketing. This will save them from being milked dry by the brokers," said Mr Ngatia.
He at the same time urged the national government to lift the ban on the importation of used motor vehicle spare parts.
Mr Ngatia noted that the traders will be pushed out of business if the government fails to lift the ban.
Accompanied by Embu branch KNCCI chairman, Mr John Mate, Mr Ngatia said that traders eke out a living through the sale of second-hand spare parts and they should be assisted.
He also asked the county and the national government to lower trading license fees for traders.
He observed that the traders are being charged exorbitant levies and can hardly make profit.
"Traders play a vital role in the growth of the economy and the two governments should create an enabling atmosphere for them to carrying out businesses," added Mr Ngatia.