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Sh100m debt Kirinyaga farmers owe NIB waived

Workers plant rice at the Mwea Irrigation Scheme. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Workers plant rice at the Mwea Irrigation Scheme. FILE PHOTO | NMG  

The government has waived a Sh100 million debt owed to the National Irrigation Board by rice farmers in Kirinyaga.

President Uhuru Kenyatta announced on Wednesday that the debts had been written off to ease the burden on farmers who grow rice.

Speaking at Wang’uru Stadium in Mwea, the President noted that farmers did not grow rice last season due to prolonged dry spell and they should, therefore, be helped.

Mr Kenyatta said he was aware the debts weighed heavily on farmers who work so hard to eke out a living.

“We know that the farmers failed to grow rice because there was a shortage of irrigation water, which was occasioned by severe drought.

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They have no produce, which they can sell to pay debts and we have come to their rescue,” said the President who was accompanied by his deputy William Ruto.

Mr Kenyatta said farmers at the giant Mwea Irrigation Scheme, which produces 80 per cent of rice consumed in Kenya play a key role in enhancing food security and the government would always address their problems.

He assured the farmers that the Sh20 billion Thiba dam would be constructed to mitigate water problem in the scheme.

President Kenyatta disclosed that court cases, which had delayed the construction of the dam meant to increase water and double rice production, had been concluded and he would soon return to the region to launch the project.

“I will come back in Kirinyaga to officially launch the construction of the project which is the largest in the area,” said the President as he campaigned for his re-election.

The farmers promised to vote for Mr Kenyatta on August 8.

“Our President has seen the problems we have been facing and waived the debts we owed the NIB.

His decision clearly indicates that he has interests of farmers at heart and we shall not let him down during the elections,” said one of the farmers.

Earlier, while addressing residents in Kianyaga town, the President criticised Jipsy Building Construction for taking too long to build the Sh1.5 billion Kutus-Githure road in Gichugu Constituency.

The President said the firm had been dragging its feet and ordered the contract cancelled.

He directed Roads minister to implement his directive with immediate effect and the contract awarded to another competent contractor.

The President said local contractors were embarrassing the government once they are awarded tenders to construct roads and bridges.

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