The vibrant farming community of Nyandarua finds itself at a crossroads, battling a crisis that threatens their livelihoods and economic well-being. With their produce going to waste and losses amounting to millions of shillings daily, these farmers are sending an urgent message to the government: reopen the Sh600 million Midland vegetable processing plant in Njabini, Kinangop constituency. This article explores their plea for help, the pressing challenges they face, and the potential for a brighter future that hinges on the revival of this vital processing plant.
A Cry for Action
Farmers in Nyandarua have voiced their concerns in a compelling petition addressed to President William Ruto. Their message is clear: the absence of a market in this agriculture-rich region is wreaking havoc on their livelihoods. The farmers paint a stark picture of mounting losses, highlighting their struggles to make ends meet in the face of a closed processing plant. Their plea is not new, for six months ago, the President directed the CS for Agriculture, Mithika Linturi, to intervene and have the plant reopened. Regrettably, the situation remains unchanged.
The Ongoing Ownership Dispute
The Midland vegetable processing plant’s history is marred by a contentious ownership dispute that has dragged on for years. The Ministry of Agriculture claims ownership of the land, sparking a protracted court battle. As the legal wrangling continues, the farmers are paying a hefty price. Former MCA Wahome Kamoce, a director of the company, reveals that the losses incurred by farmers in this region run into millions of shillings annually. The situation is dire, and the Midland plant stands as their beacon of hope.
The Potential for Transformation
Kamoce asserts that if the plant were operational, it could alleviate the suffering of the farmers, preventing their valuable farm produce from going to waste. The plant, with its vast potential, could be a game-changer for the region’s economy. Kamoce further adds that the President’s directive to withdraw the court case could significantly impact the local market. For instance, the price of a sack of potatoes could rise from the current Sh2,000 to an impressive Sh11,000. The economic revival of the region hangs in the balance, waiting for the plant’s reopening.
A Unified Call for Action
During a press conference following a meeting with the farming community in Njabini, Kamoce made an impassioned plea to the elected leaders in Nyandarua County to intervene and expedite the reopening of the Midland processing plant. He expressed concern over purported plans to sell the plant to a third party, an outcome that shareholders are determined to prevent.
Matheri Wa Hungu, another director of the company, directed criticism at CS Linturi, noting his failure to heed the presidential directive and engage with the farmers. Matheri, too, called on the President and his deputy to intervene, recognizing the plant’s potential to transform the region’s economy.
A Region Forgotten No More
David Ragwe, a farmer in Nyandarua, reflects on the President’s interventions in various regions, from Western to Nyanza, Rift Valley, and the Coast. He wonders why Nyandarua has been overlooked. He underscores the incredible potential of the processing plant to create job opportunities for hundreds of unemployed youths and become a lifeline for the region’s fresh produce market.
The fate of Nyandarua’s farmers hangs in the balance as they grapple with immense losses and uncertainty. Their plea for the reopening of the Midland vegetable processing plant is a call for salvation, a plea for prosperity, and a beacon of hope for the region’s economic revival. As the farming community stands united, they look to the government for action and the restoration of their livelihoods. With the processing plant operational, Nyandarua could once again thrive as an agriculture-rich region with boundless potential for growth and prosperity.
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