Kirinyaga County farmers cry foul over bad roads

As rice harvesting season continues in Kirinyaga County, farmers in Wamumu ward in Mwea
are a devastated lot due to the poor state of roads connecting to their farms.
The farmers who now are pointing an accusing finger at the National Irrigation Authority and the
County Government of Kirinyaga.
The farmers have threatened to stop paying a license fee of 3,000 Shillings per acre should action
not be taken to improve the road network.
Their complaints come months after the irrigation entity got into a partnership with the county
government to embark on a road rehabilitation programme within the rice-growing areas.
Stanley Munene, one of the farmers at the W3 section says he is forced to dig deeper into his
pocket to pay for transport cost from the rice paddy to his home.
“I’m forced to hire a tractor to carry the harvested produce as donkey carts cannot manoeuvre
through the murky paddy. As opposed to 100 shillings per sack that we pay as transport cost,
now I have to cough 300 shillings to 500 shillings per sack due to the bad state of the roads.”
They say authorities have slept on the job by failing to rehabilitate the roads much as they pay
the license fee money meant to facilitate operations and management.
Another farmer Robert Kamau has faulted the board for quickly arresting farmers who don’t pay
the fee in time but slow to fulfil their responsibilities.
“Many farmers are also forced to buy water machines to pump water into their farms as a result
of inadequate water supply and blockage of canals,” said Kamau.
They now are calling on both the Irrigation Authority and the County Government to hasten the
process of mending the roads. Under this year’s supplementary budget, Kirinyaga county
assembly allocated 323 million shillings for infrastructure and road projects within the county.

By Alvin Ratemo

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