Nakuru farmers hit hard by the COVID-19 situation,call for aid package

Moses Gitonga addressing press at his farm in Gilgil.PHOTO/Pristone Mambili.

Farmers in Nakuru are now calling on the government to launch an aid package for farmers to cushion them from the negative effects of coronavirus. 

Addressing media in Gilgil on Tuesday, they lamented that despite being a planting season there is of an impending hunger adding that fertilizers and seeds prices have skyrocketed. 

Ms Janet Gathoni said that with the current closure of many businesses there is less circulation of money adding that they have been forced to do butter trade. 

“The government should emulate other nations through the initiation of packages for farmers,” she said.

Ms Janet Gathoni attends to her farm in Gilgil.PHOTO/Pristone Mambili.

Similar sentiments echoed by Simon Thiira a tomato farmer.

Thiira says buyers used to come to the farm and buy the products directly adding that after the virus and restrictions put in place by the government he has lost nearly all customers. 

“I used to have buyers coming up to my farm to buy but now with the COVID-19, they have disappeared,” he said.

Thiira added that though the guidelines and appeal for people to stay at home was well thought of, farmers who were solely dependent on doing business at the farm level have been greatly affected. 

On his part, Moses Gitonga-a milk farmer said they have been forced to consume their own products after several hotels and restaurants which were his main customers closed down due to the virus scare. 

Daily,  Gitonga said he gets up to 30 liters adding that currently, his farm has a surplus of 40 litres forcing him to value add and consume with the family. 

“We can’t do anything with the COVID-19 in place. The milk is plenty but with no buyers then we just have to use it with family members” he said.

According to him, they are relying on orders from neighbors for their daily income adding that the virus has hit them hard with no ready market of the products. 

Another farmer Joseph Kuria expressed his disappointment towards the government’s failure to honor the promise to provide them with subsided prices seeds and fertilizers saying it has affected their planting schedules. 

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