Farmers Party of Kenya, has moved to the High Court and filed a case against the Minister of Agriculture over its decision to contract Zambian farmers to carry out large scale cultivation of maize for export to Kenya.
Under the Certificate of Urgency filed on Wednesday, April 12, 2023, the party avers that the decision by the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS) to contract Zambian farmers was “unreasonable, irrational, and illegal and in gross violation of the Constitution of Kenya.”
CS Mithika Linturi in March 2023 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with his Zambian counterpart Mtolo Phiri for large-scale farming of maize in Zambia for export to Kenya. The CS revealed that the development was part of the government’s long-term plans to curb food insecurity in the country.
Through Chege Kamau Advocates, Farmers Party argues that the decision where the two governments are supposed to enter into a contractual agreement where Zambia farmers would grow maize solely for export to Kenya is tantamount to admission of dereliction of duty by CS Linturi and by extension the government of the Republic of Kenya to support and provide enabling infrastructure for Kenyan farmers to produce food locally.
The petition names Attorney General of Kenya Justin Muturi and CS Linturi as first and second respondents respectively.
Farmers Party, which is a member of the ruling Kenya Kwanza coalition, in the petition further avers that it is illogical for the government to contract the Republic of Zambia to do maize farming for export to Kenya, in lieu of supporting the local farmers to produce qualitatively and quantitatively as Agriculture is the backbone of the Kenyan economy.
Principally, the petition raises important matters of public interest touching on ordinary farmers of the republic of Kenya and therefore by implication touching on the economy of the country.
Farmers Party, through the petitioner Irungu Nyakera, who is also its Party Leader, argues that the decision will prejudice the interests of farmers in Kenya as well as the economy of Kenya.
The party which has been on the frontline agitating for the interest farmers in the country argues in the petitioner that it is illogical for the Kenyan government to engage the Republic of Zambia to produce
Maize for Kenya whilst Zambia is struggling with a similar challenge and is in fact importing maize to satisfy the demands of its citizenry.
On Tuesday, April 11, the Zambian Government announced a maize shortage that was threatening food security in the country. Interestingly, the shortage, which was announced by the country’s Ministry of Finance and National Planning, was made barely a month after Kenya inked a deal to grow maize in the South African country.