A section of Youth from Western Kenya has come to the defense of Agriculture Minister Peter Munya after he was accused of unfairly allocating shs 1.5 billion World Bank funding to improve the production of specialty coffee.
Wetangula said beneficiaries of the fund are counties from one region while those from other coffee-growing areas have been left out.
Munya had indicated that the first phase of allocations would cover Murang’a, Kiambu, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Machakos, Kirinyaga and Nyeri counties.
The Youths under the auspice of Western Union, said the CS is right.
They said Machakos should be left out because it has little coffee.
The caucus is led by youth leader Martin Mutetemi from Sirisia.
On Tuesday, Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula said beneficiaries of the fund are counties from one region while those from other coffee-growing areas have been left out.
He said Munya should explain the criteria used in determining the counties to benefit from the fund.
The Star Newspaper reported that the Senator was seeking a statement from the CS through the Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.
Wetangula said, Nyamira, Kisii, Trans Nzoia and Vihiga counties have been left out.
However, the youths said many of the ancient coffee factories and societies in Western and Nyanza region collapsed.
“Many farmers uprooted coffee trees after they failed to get market for their products. Most of the coffee societies do not exist as members abandoned coffee for maize and other products.,” said Martin Mutetemi.
The youths faulted Wetangula for not championing for the rights of coffee farmers in Western Kenya in the past and only waited until the World Bank brought in cash.
They said Munya is right to allocate the funds to coffee growing regions.
Munya said the World Bank project would later be rolled out to other counties in September.
Media reports indicated that the Ministry of Agriculture had announced that the funds would initially be disbursed to counties that account for more than 70 per cent of the national coffee production.
The funds would also be used to finance co-operatives in efforts aimed at enhancing efficiency along the crop’s value chain.
Munya said the money would be issued to select co-operative societies, which would, in turn, give farmers seeds and subsidized fertilizer to boost productivity.
The project is expected to raise productivity from the current 40,000 metric tonnes annually to more than 100,000 metric tonnes.
Among other goals of the project is to eliminate the cartels by sourcing market for farmers to enable direct sale of their produce.
About 60 per cent of the funds will be used in the automation of co-operative processes and modernization of the equipment.
The Star News Paper reported.