Former Kirinyaga Governor Joseph Ndathi is urging those in office to address the plight of the agricultural sector if their counties were to prosper.
He said for the last two years after leaving office he has been on a fact-finding mission in the sector and would wish to see urgent remedial measures put in place especially in coffee, tea and sugar cane farming.
Ndathi said his experience of coffee was that the farmer has been receiving peanuts from the cash crop while payments only come once a year.
“The coffee farmer having toiled for a whole year is only paid once at best Sh 45 per kilogram of cherry and you wonder how such a poor farmer was expected to survive,” he said.
Ndathi who hails from the highly agriculture potential Kabare Ward in Kirinyaga East Sub-county wondered why coffee, sugarcane, and tea farmers were not getting the attention they deserved from the government yet they were pivotal to the food security.
He said county governments must rise up to the occasion and put stringent measures to improve the agricultural sector by timely availing subsidized inputs which most farmers cannot afford.
“Being a tea, coffee and dairy farmer, I have now experienced what Wanjiku goes through while those in the government do not seem to be in touch with the reality on the ground and it’s the high time the status quo changed if the farmer will ever become empowered economically,” he said.
On serving as the first governor, Ndathi said the most challenging thing was the appointing of the CECs most of whom had no idea of what was expected of them.
Ndathi who had a wide experience in public administration prior to venturing into elective politics said at one point he had to suspend one of his nine CECs after he was unable to deliver.
“I am sure most governors in office are also experiencing this problem due to pressure from interested parties each wanting his/her own to be appointed regardless of whether such a contender has what it takes to hold the office,” he said.
He said being a governor should not be taken to be a walk in the park due to the many intrigues the holder of the office encounter along the way through one must be strict and remain focused in order to deliver.
Ndathi however blamed the nomination process political parties adopted to pick their gubernatorial candidates, which he maintained should either be done away with or streamlined.
“Unless the nomination process of candidates during the general elections were reformed from manipulations and rigging, those who clinched the ticket will always not be the people’s choice hence the acrimony that comes about between the County Assembly and the County Government, “he observed.
Ndathi has declared he will be seeking to reclaim his seat from Anne Waiguru while at the same time he is busily engaged in business farming.