ODM party leaders in Meru have dismissed the Miraa task force report presented to President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi, on Tuesday.
Led by Mick Mutembei, the leaders said the Sh1.2 billion the President said would be released would not achieve much since the priority should be recovering lost markets and looking for new ones.
“The task force spent the initial Sh0.5 billion in big hotels drinking tea and no money was ever received at the grassroots to benefit the farmers. The report and money is just a political gimmick,” said Mutembei.
He further said the recommendations that seed capital be given to farmers through a new sacco was not a good idea since Meru region already had over 27 banks and 13 Saccos, which should have been considered.
Mutembei also dismissed plans to have miraa farmers registered to keep brokers at bay.
“There are women who sell sacks to wrap miraa and they are not farmers. There are also transporters and people who export the commodity. These do not own any miraa farms but they help in completing the miraa trade chain. By registering farmers, the Government will be dividing them to slowly end the crop,” he said.
Mutembei also advised that any research on miraa farming should be done after the elections, when new leaders are in office to avoid making it a campaign issue.
“After all, Miraa has been chewed for the past 53 years as a raw product. Why do they want to process it into other products? Other derivatives extracted from miraa cannot match up to the real miraa chewing activity,” Mutembei added.