- The Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture has called for an audit to establish how Sh167 million allocated to miraa farmers in Embu County for the support of miraa trade was spent.
- The amount was part of Sh1 billion released by the national government meant to boost farmers.
- The farmers allege misappropriation of the funds and inflation of costs of the constructed miraa markets in Embu county.
The Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture has called for an audit to establish how Sh167 million allocated to miraa farmers in Embu County for the support of miraa trade was spent.
The amount was part of Sh1 billion released by the national government meant to boost farmers and enhance trade.
Responding to claims of misappropriation, committee member Ms Cicily Mbarire called for a government audit after it emerged that only seven miraa markets estimated at Sh67 million were constructed.
“We would like the government to carry out an audit so that the truth of the matter can be known," Ms Mbarire said.
The Committee sitting at Kiritiri Constituency Development Fund office in Mbeere South Sub-County on Tuesday was responding to complaints by farmers that their cash could have been misused.
The farmers further raised concerns about the true cost of construction of the markets alleging inflation costs and called on the Committee to intervene.
Area MP Geoffrey King'ang'i echoed their sentiments, making a call for investigations into the matter.
The Committee further noted that Embu was discriminated against during the distribution of the miraa funds.
"Out of Sh1billion released by the government, Embu received only Sh167million. This is too little and we should be told the criteria used to share the cash to miraa farmers," Cate Waruguru, the Committee vice-chairperson said.
The Committee observed that the farmers were facing a challenge marketing their produce in both local and international markets and promised to address the issue.
In so doing, it found the ban of miraa from Embu by Kitui County uncalled for, arguing that miraa is a legally accepted crop.
"It is primitive by any county to declare Muguka (miraa) which has not been banned by the government of Kenya, illegal," Ms Waruguru said.
The Committee raised its concerns over the involvement of vehicles ferrying miraa in road accidents.
Noting that the drivers’ speed was to get the perishable good to the market in good time, they advised on the use of coolers to address the menace.
"If miraa is transported in coolers drivers will not be in a hurry to reach to the market and therefore there would be no accidents," Ms Waruguru said.