Kenya: Munya Releases Sh122 Million to Miraa Sacco as Lobby Group Protests

27 September 2020

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has disbursed Sh122 million to Mwenge Miraa Sacco amid protests from a lobby group which has been opposed to the process.

Mr Munya said each of the 25 wards in the miraa growing zones will access Sh5 million in loans.

He explained that the money will also be spent on establishing offices and covering administrative and personnel costs.

The CS said Mwenge Miraa Sacco will lend the money to its members at an interest rate of three per cent since it is meant to cushion farmers and traders from adverse effects of the loss of markets.

As this happned, Nyambene Miraa Traders Association (Nyamita) said it will be citing Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga for contempt of court over failure to heed to an order that all stakeholders be involved before the money is disbursed.

But Mr Munya maintained that Mwenge Miraa Sacco was set up following a directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta to ensure miraa stakeholders access cheap loans.

"When we established the sacco and set aside some money, enemies of development started fighting it and went to court. However, we now have the money and those who want to continue fighting in court can go on as farmers borrow from the sacco," Mr Munya said.

Tussle with CS

The CS urged more residents to join Mwenge Sacco so as to benefit from the cheap loans given under the miraa revolving fund.

Since early this year, Nyamita has been engaged in a tussle with the CS over his directive to have the Sh180 million miraa fund channelled through Mwenge Sacco, leading to a court battle.

Nyamita Chairman Kimathi Munjuri is demanding that the money be disbursed to various qualifying saccos operating in the miraa growing areas.

"The question of how only one sacco is receiving the money is still haunting us and we won't relent until the law is upheld. The process demanded that all stakeholders be involved. The public rallies with so much politics cannot pass for public participation on the miraa revolving fund," Mr Munjuri protested.

In July, the Commodities Fund told the court that it was in the process of developing a framework for disbursement of the money.

"When and how did the money leave the Commodities Fund to the Cooperative Bank?" the Nyamita chairman asked.

Sensitisation forum

Two weeks ago, Nyamita protested a move by the Commodities Fund to cancel a sensitisation forum where stakeholders were to be engaged on the development of a framework and guidelines for disbursement of the money.

"Once the guidelines are in place, we expect the Commodities Fund to openly invite qualifying saccos to submit their applications. Ways must be found to stop interference by the Ministry of Agriculture so that the Commodities Fund is left to disburse the money as per the law," Mr Munjuri said.

On the ongoing miraa trade ban in Somalia, Mr Munya called for patience from traders and told off a section of Meru leaders led by Senator Mithika Linturi who gave a 14-day ultimatum for mass action.

"We do not want Tangatanga politics mixed up with miraa issues. This brand of politics will destabilise the miraa subsector. The government is on top of things in addressing the market challenges and is keen on protecting the crop. However, if the Tangatanga group wants to go look for a market, my ministry will facilitate them," he said.

Mr Munya said the government is keen on reforming all agriculture sectors to ensure the farmer earns more.

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