Why and how maize farmers are staring at 3-year jail term

Are you a maize farmer? Have you been selling your produce to your neighbors and their surrounding? Well, this will make you suffer should the proposed regulations sail through!

If they are aaproved, any farmer who stops a government inspector from assessing his or her land will be jailed for three years or be made to pay a Sh3 million fine.

The guidelines also bar farmers from buying or selling to unregistered dealers, a decision opposed by agriculture stakeholders.

The penalty for breaching the registration rule is Sh5 million or three years’ in prison or both.

According to the drafters of the rules, anyone buying produce without a licence should be made to pay a Sh10 million fine or be imprisoned for five years or both!

The rules also require food to be sold in markets designated by devolved governments.

It raises questions as to whether farmers would be free to sell food to neighbours as has been the practice.

The tough rules drafted by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) and county governments seek to control the value chain of the farming business.

A small-scale maize farmer in her farm in Chuka.

The 87-page Crops (Food Crops) Regulations, to be tabled in Parliament after perusal by the Attorney-General, creates the position of a crop inspector who will have powers to enter a farm and search premises.

If passed, AFA will randomly sample and test food crops in stores, warehouses, depots or processors. It can also destroy food products that do not conform to safety standards.

Farmers would be required to maintain records of their activities to be produced on demand.

Among the crops to be regulated are maize, barley, millet,  wheat, oat, rye, triticale, grain amaranth, soya bean, pea, bean, sweet potato and cassava. The rules also affect tea and coffee.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *