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Commodities Fund gets Sh180m for distribution to miraa farmers

Sunday July 12 2020
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Commodities Fund Managing Trustee Nancy Cheruiyot who has said that she has received Sh180 million for disbursement to the miraa farmers. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By DAVID MUCHUI

The tussle over the mode of disbursing the Sh180 million miraa fund has taken a new twist after the Commodities Fund confirmed receiving the money from the National Treasury.

The dispute pitting Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya and the Miraa Taskforce Report Implementation Technical Team is on whether to disburse the money through the Commodities Fund or directly to savings and credit cooperatives (saccos).

Mr Munya had backed direct disbursement of the money to saccos, leading to a standoff that has ended up in court. In the court case, Nyambene Miraa Traders Association (Nyamita) is questioning how a new sacco was selected to be the sole recipient of the funds.

In a letter addressed to Nyamita and seen by the Nation, the managing trustee of the Commodities Fund Nancy Cheruiyot said the miraa fund was received last week from the exchequer.

BORROWING REQUIREMENTS

She stated that the Fund is in the process of developing products and requirements for borrowing by the beneficiaries.

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“I wish to confirm that in the current financial year, we received Sh180 million for miraa sector from the exchequer. Once we come up with products and requirements, the same will be communicated to all miraa stakeholders accordingly,” the letter reads.

The case where Nyamita has sued the Ministry of Agriculture and the government was heard last week at the High Court in Meru, with the Attorney-General being given up to Wednesday to determine the status of the miraa fund.

Nyamita Chairman Kimathi Munjuri, who is also a member of the task force, lauded the disbursement of the money to the Fund and called for a clear framework for distributing it.

DISTRIBUTION

He said farmers in Meru are expected to get Sh164 million while those from Embu get Sh16 million from the allocation.

“From the initial Sh1 billion allocated to miraa revitalisation programme, Meru allocated Sh400 million to a revolving fund while Embu allocated Sh40 million. Tharaka-Nithi put all its money into capital projects. We urge the Commodities Fund to fast track the development of guidelines for disbursing the money to farmers and traders,” Mr Munjuri said.

He said Nyamita would be lobbying to ensure the money is channelled through auditable cooperatives to ensure it benefits the miraa sector.

“The money should also be given in form of a loan through duly registered saccos to avert abuse of the fund,” he said.

Already, miraa farmers have set up several saccos in anticipation of the funds which were first allocated in the last financial year.

Last week, Mr Munya said Mwenge Miraa Sacco, which has had his backing, has so far enrolled 5,000 members.

The CS had earlier said the money should be disbursed directly to saccos to ensure it benefits the small holder farmers.

Last week, Mr Munya defended Mwenge Sacco saying it is open to all miraa farmers and called on those opposed to it to calm down.

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