In a visionary move that could reshape the landscape of agricultural empowerment, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has passionately appealed to the National Government to consider selling its 55 percent stake in Mwea Rice Mills (MRM) to the very farmers who contribute significantly to its success.
At the heart of this proposition is the understanding that farmers, who already own 45 percent of MRM, should be granted the first right of refusal when the national government decides to privatize its share in the facility. Governor Waiguru emphatically stated that the County government is committed to supporting the farmers in acquiring these shares, thereby placing the control and destiny of the mill firmly in the hands of those who cultivate the land.
Speaking eloquently during Jamhuri day celebrations at Good Samaritan Secondary School grounds in Mutithi, Mwea, Governor Waiguru underscored the principle that governments should not be in the business of running enterprises. Instead, she advocated for a transfer of ownership, suggesting that the MRM factory should rightfully be in the hands of the rice farmers.
“In so doing, the farmers will operate and manage the mill to be a profit-making venture, providing an avenue for the farmers to gain economic independence. As a county, we will make sure that any agreements done will leave our rice farmers more empowered and not feeling disenfranchised,” assured Governor Waiguru with unwavering determination.
Accusing certain local politicians of exploiting the MRM privatization as a political tool for the 2027 campaigns, Governor Waiguru urged farmers to unite and form rice cooperatives. She emphasized that this cooperative approach would enable them to pool resources effectively and secure the facility. In her visionary perspective, farmers have much to gain by actively supporting the government’s initiative to make MRM self-sustaining and profitable.
“It is, therefore, my duty to advise the farmers to place themselves strategically to take up the offer to buy the government shares when that time comes,” expressed Governor Waiguru, urging farmers to seize this unprecedented opportunity.
Addressing the challenge of the Golden Apple Snail wreaking havoc on the Mwea irrigation scheme’s rice crops, Governor Waiguru highlighted the collaborative efforts between the county and national government. They are tirelessly working to find an effective pesticide to combat this migratory rice pest, given the limited success of the initial pilot program.
Governor Waiguru’s commitment to the agricultural sector extends beyond rice, as she announced the county government’s support for Kirinyaga coffee farmers. Pledging Kshs 50 million to the Kirinyaga Slopes Coffee Brokerage Company Limited for warehouse construction, she aims to empower coffee farmers to actively participate in the Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE).
In conclusion, Governor Anne Waiguru’s impassioned plea and proactive initiatives paint a picture of a future where farmers are not just contributors but owners of the agricultural ventures that sustain them. The proposal to privatize Mwea Rice Mills to farmers emerges as a beacon of economic independence, promising prosperity and resilience in Kirinyaga’s agricultural pursuits.
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