Former Chairman of the Agriculture committee in parliament John Mututho is calling for tax waiver on seedlings and fertilizers as one way of securing food security in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis. https://youtu.be/BzeBFEI3GYQ
Mututho warned that the country could face another challenge in food shortage in the coming days if the government failed to cushion and support the farmers.
This came as flower farms in Naivasha warned of more job losses in the coming days and called for support from the national government.
Addressing the press in Naivasha, Mututho noted that the government should waive tax on all farms inputs so that farmers could produce more.
“We thank the President for the interventions he has put in place but he should consider tax-waiver for all farm inputs as the country could face food shortage due to this virus,” he said.
Mututho noted that already, some farms in Naivasha had started to send tens of their workers home noting that this could lead to an economical and social meltdown.
He challenged the government to set aside Sh100B to be sent to the 20m Kenyans who had registered with Huduma Number and later call for a three week lockdown.
“Each Kenyan can get Sh5,000 and this enough for buying foodstuff for the three week period of the lockdown and we will have contained the spread of the virus,” he said.
Mututho at the same time expressed his concern over the move by Kiambu Governor to close down the popular Soko Mjonga market located along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway.
He noted that this spelt doom for hundreds of families and farmers who relied on the market which was the main source of vegetables.
“The governor should have sought more space to allocate these farmers who rely on selling their vegetables and closing the market is worsening the problem,” he said.
On his part, the proprietor of Maridadi flower farm Jack Kneppers termed the Sh10B VAT refund released by the government as a drop in the ocean.
He said that flower farmers were owed billions by KRA noting that if wholly released this could go a long way in addressing the current challenges the sector is facing.
“Many of the farms have been forced to send workers home due to the current crisis and the VAT refunds which have not been paid for years could come in handy at these tough times,” he said