4 February 2003

Kenya: MPs Want Pyrethrum Board Disbanded

Nairobi — The Nyandarua Parliamentary Group (NPG) has petitioned the Government to disband the giant Pyrethrum Board of Kenya (PBK).

Group said the Board had failed to pay impoverished farmers for crops delivered over the last one year.

The lawmakers claimed the district was producing 40 per cent of the country's pyrethrum but the farmers have been subjected to untold suffering.

The group's chairman, Eng Muriuki Karue (Ol-Kalau) said children dropped out of school after their parents, who solely depend on sales of the crop, were not paid for a year.

Other members are Lands and Settlement Minister Amos Kimunya (Kipipiri), and Waithaka Mwangi (Kinangop).

Karue said that Nyandarua District was given a raw deal by the previous Government and urged President Mwai Kibaki to consider appointing a director from the area after disbanding the incumbent team.

Speaking at Miharati township in Kipipiri constituency, the MPs called for a probe committee to investigate claims by pyrethrum farmers that the directors had siphoned millions of shillings from the coffers and banked it in at an overseas bank.

At the same time, the lawmakers called for the revival of the defunct Kenya Co-operative Creameries (KCC) Nyahururu plant to economically empower local farmers who have been exploited by unscrupulous middlemen.

They asked the Minister for Agriculture, Kipruto arap Kirwa to ensure that the plant, which collapsed several years ago, is revived.

"Kirwa should firmly deal with those implicated in looting money and machinery from the plant like any other thief", said the MPs.

They said the PBK owed the farmers more than Sh100 million and yet it had sold their flowers abroad.

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