- “I paid money so that I can enjoy the county subsidised tractor services but it took several months before the tractor came to plough my piece of land. The system is a complete failure,” Josephat Otindo said during a farmers meeting in Lumakanda town.
Kakamega County Government may have lost millions of shillings after initiating a tractor-ploughing services which farmers say has failed.
Farmers in Lugari subcounty have complained that despite fulfilling the requirements needed before getting the county tractor services, the county service delivery system has still failed them.
They said the compulsory upfront payment system before a tractor ploughs farmers’ plots has failed and should be reviewed or the service be scrapped completely.
“I paid money so that I can enjoy the county subsidised tractor services but it took several months before the tractor came to plough my piece of land. The system is a complete failure,” Josephat Otindo said during a farmers meeting in Lumakanda town.
Otindo said he was forced to go back to his pocket and pay for private tractor services which are relatively higher than the proposed county services.
He proposed that the rules governing tractor services be revised so that the farmers benefit from the service in good time and avoid delays during the planting season.
Pius Kakhonya a maize farmer in Lumakanda proposed that the County government should always carry out public participation for projects before they are launched at the grassroots.
This, he said, will help the leadership get views from residents on how best the project can be implemented and their viability.
Lugari Subcounty Agricultural officer Kakai Wasike echoed similar sentiments to those of the farmers saying the county tractor services, which were meant to curb runaway ploughing costs from the private tractor service providers, had failed.
Kakai asked the Kakamega County Farmers Association to propose to the County Assembly to either revise the rules governing tractor services or scrap off the programme because farmers are not benefiting from it.
Lugari Subcounty has been allocated one tractor which according to him is not enough in an area where agriculture is an economic mainstay.
“If the service can’t be better, let them scrap it off because its tight governing regulations are a hinderance to farmers benefiting,” he added.
He regretted that private tractor service providers have continued to exploit farmers by charging high prices for their services.
They were speaking during a meeting convened by Kecofa which moves in every subcounty to collect farmers views on the help given by the County government and how best it can be improved.
The findings are shared with the Agriculture Committee at the County Assembly and the Department of Agriculture.