KNA The Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Livestock has called for special audit to be done to establish how Sh. 167 million allocated to Embu for Miraa sector was utilized.
The committee was responding to complaints from muguka farmers during views gathering on Miraa in Embu, who cited inflated cost of construction of muguka sheds at Sh. 6.7 million instead of Sh 1.6 Million.
Vice Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture Ms. Catherine Waruguru said an audit will be done to find out the utilization of Miraa funds as well as claim that market centers were constructed near dump sites which affects the muguka.
Waruguru noted once they are through with views gathering the committee will compile the report on the views gathered and tabled in parliament for discussion.
However, she said the committee fully support the farmers since muguka dominate Miraa market and is an international crop.
Waruguru challenged Mbeere South Member of Parliament, Geoffrey Kingangi to table Crop Act 2016 amendment bill in parliament to entrench muguka as a type of Miraa in the act to facilitate its marketing.
The chairperson noted that it is punitive for a county to ban sale of legalized crop, citing the recent ban of sale of muguka in Kitui County calling for withdrawal of the ban.
While giving their views to the Committee in Embu during public participation, muguka farmers said they are facing challenges in marketing muguka, especially outside the country.
The farmers also were concerned that in some counties the crop is recognized as an illicit drug, citing the recent ban of muguka sale in Kitui County.
On research, the farmers have called on the government to consider establishing a research center for muguka in Mbeere region.
They cited that muguka has more than eight medicinal values which should be harnessed for the benefit of the residents, as well as fast tracking value addition.
On transportation of muguka, the transporters and buyers called for expansion of muguka market citing that currently they are limited in areas they can market the crop.
They called for all the 47 counties to embrace sale pf muguka by allowing marketing of muguka and reducing levies on the crop.
They particularly noted muguka transporters are charged Sh. 40,000 levy per lorry to Mombasa which should be addressed adding that other lorries pay Sh. 400.
The farmers challenged the government to provide cold room facilities during transportation of muguka, adding that lack of cooling facilities forces speeding of muguka vehicles to avoid spoiling of muguka which is a perishable commodity.
Cecily Mbarire, a nominated MP who is Agriculture committee member called for equitable distribution of Miraa funds, citing Embu County produce high quantity of Miraa in the country.
Mbarire also observed that muguka crop should be entrenched into a legal frame work similar to that of tea and coffee.
She emphasized the need for the government to consider facilitating muguka transporters in transporting the commodity, so as to avoid frequent accidents and deaths caused by muguka vehicles.
Area Member of Parliament Kingangi promised to table crop Act 2016 amendment which will recognize muguka as a type of Miraa that will enhance production and marketing of Miraa.
He also noted the transporters of muguka are harassed on the road and police officers solicit Sh. 10, 000 for every muguka vehicles.
The committee will proceed to Meru County for further views gathering.