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Counties

Coffee farmers protest sale of societies’ assets

A coffee farmer in Meru
A coffee farmer in Meru. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Coffee farmers in parts of upper eastern region have raised concern over what they say is rampant disposal of their societies’ properties, and want the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to investigate the matter.

The farmers have accused their society officials in Meru, Embu and Tharaka-Nithi of colluding with buyers to dispose the properties without consulting members.

Politicians, the growers say, are also eying prime plots owned by societies after collapse of the coffee sector.

In Meru, politicians have been accused of subdividing land owned by societies in coffee growing areas of Tigania East, Imenti Central and Imenti South on the pretext of building schools and health centres.

Tigania sub county cooperatives officer Bramwel Otwane said land owned by five societies in the area had been encroached by politicians who claim they want to build institutions there.

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“They are demanding to be given land for free and intimidating officials into subdividing it. The officials have complained they are also being threatened,” Mr Otwane told Business Daily Wednesday.

Farmers now want the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate those behind the shady deals that threaten to scuttle revival of the coffee sector.

They also want Agriculture and Cooperatives Secretary Peter Munya to intervene and order an urgent audit of society properties to establish whether they had been stolen, and if so bring culprits to book.

In Embu, members of Kaagari Farmers’ Cooperative which has since split into three, said their properties were being sold without their knowledge.

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