Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to give notice of the following Motion:-
THAT, this House adopts the report of the Public Accounts Committee on the matter of Kenya currency printing contracts between the central Bank of Kenya and De La Rue Company laid on the Table of this House today, Wednesday, 1st August, 2012.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to ask the Minister for Lands the following Question by Private Notice.
a) Could the Minister provide a list of all the families which will be displaced by the construction of the Lamu Port? (b) When will the Minister issue the affected families with ownership documents in order to facilitate the process of compensation?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) I cannot provide a list of all the families which will be displaced by the construction of the Lamu Port as the identification of those to be affected is ongoing. (b) The affected families will be documented after completion of their identification process by the inter-ministerial committee which has been tasked to work out a compensation package for the affected families.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, we hope that the committee that the Assistant Minister is talking about will make sure that the genuine farmers who are there get compensated and not fictitious ones. These committees in many instances are created as time saving devices jus to buy time. Could the Assistant Minister, please, give us a date on which this committee is supposed to present its Report under the terms of reference?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is true that only the genuine residents are going to be identified and are the ones who will be compensated. We gave them six months from the time His Excellency the President launched the construction of the port.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, could the Assistant Minister tell the House whether the affected families will include those whose land is taken over by other people before the inter-Ministerial Committee starts its work?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not understand the question when he says, “is taken over by other people”. This is because the purpose of the inter-Ministerial Committee, or the task force, is to identify the genuine claimants of the land. Therefore, the locals are part of the task force. You will be in a position to identify who are the right people and inform us as a Ministry to compensate the affected families.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, what is the Ministry doing to contain grabbers who are likely to go to Lamu to take land for speculative purposes?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, you will understand that I am not an angel to anticipate grabbers whom I have no idea about.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I had the opportunity of going to Lamu with the Departmental Committee on Local Authorities. We were astounded to see where Lamu Port is meant to be. We were told that the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) intended to spend Kshs800 million for the headquarters. We were also told that Kshs1 billion was spent on the launch. When we calculate the amount of money that was used to ring-fence the sale of Grand Regency we get Kshs2.8 billion, which is all gone. Has the Ministry of Lands right now ring-fenced at least Kshs100 million of that money, so that when you have identified those farmers you have the money and we do not hear a story that you are waiting for the money?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am sure you must be in the same state I am in. I am being told that Kshs1 billion was used on the launching of the Lamu project. I do not know by whom. What I know is that His Excellency the President was the one who launched the project with Presidents of other countries who were visitors. I do not think going to Lamu would cost Kshs1 billion. I have no idea about the Kshs1 billion.
Order, Assistant Minister! What you ought to have concentrated on is the question part. You know Members always want to be given time to lay a foundation for a question. The question finally came to this effect: Have you ring-fenced the Kshs2.8 billion that was realized out of the Grand Regency to compensate land owners?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, you know very well that when the Grand Regency was sold the money went to the Treasury and it is for the Treasury to allocate it to us.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. We know that Kshs2.8 billion was ring-fenced by the Treasury. The question to the Ministry of Lands is: Has the Ministry of Lands been given any money which is being ring-fenced in respect of compensation to the land owners? All you need to say is whether you have it or not.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, if the hon. Member was listening I said that the task force is going to identify the people and the amount. Before this is done we cannot ask the Treasury to give us the money.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, as you are aware the people of Lamu have not owned title deeds. I wonder how the Ministry is going to compensate them. Are they going to be compensated for the value of land or for the value of the plants which are there? These are the genuine land owners of those areas and if there is compensation they should be compensated to the same value, whether they have title deeds or not.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, if the hon. Member was listening to my answer to “”b”, I said that the affected families will be documented after completion of identification process by the inter-Ministerial committee, which has been tasked to work out the compensation package. This means there is a committee going to identity the people and then we document them before we compensate them.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. The Assistant Minister should not avoid the question from the Member of Parliament from Lamu. The question is: Are you going to compensate somebody and tell him, “We took two acres from you; we have settled you in Mpeketoni and given you two acres,” or are you now going to give compensation pegged on the current price of the two acres in Lamu? Two acres in Lamu at the moment is going to be a fortune.
Order, Member for Ikolomani! That will not be new. The Assistant Minister has answered.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Order, Member for Kisumu Town West. Mr. Twaha, proceed.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, this port appears to have elastic borders. Two months ago the Permanent Secretary for Transport went to the site and ordered that the port be expanded one kilometre in that direction and one kilometre in the other direction. Will this committee that you have set up take into account this sort of arbitrary developments, or will you have a clear cut map and then we stick to it?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the port will be constructed one kilometer square all round. However, apart from the port, there is going to be the town and roads. This task force will identify all the people who will be affected and recommend compensation.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
What is it Member for Kisumu Town West?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, you heard the Assistant Minister say that the owners of these lands are going to be identified. That should imply that the land in this area is not registered under any of the land Acts. Therefore, that would be Trust Land. Is it in order for the Assistant Minister not to indicate to the House the formula for compensation valuation?
Order! That does not challenge anything out of order. It is just a supplementary question. The Assistant Minister has already dealt with that. He says a task force has been set up to identify persons who are entitled to compensation, be it for land, crops or houses or whatever. It all falls under that general description. So I think the Assistant Minister has dealt with that matter very well. Member for Keiyo South, proceed.
asked the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports:- (a) how much money has been disbursed to Keiyo South Constituency by the Ministry through the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) and other schemes; and, (b) whether he could provide a list of all beneficiaries in the constituency since its inception, indicating their respective locations.
Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports. I know the Minister may have gone for the Olympics but somebody must hold his brief. Ms. Mathenge, do you want to hold brief for your colleague? Explain why he has not given an account.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not have a brief but I believe they are all in the UK. Perhaps, we can defer the Question to next week.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I know you have no direct control over the Executive but you can apply Standing Orders. How on earth could three Ministers of the Government all go to the same function and, in the process, paralyze Government business in the House? I beg that you take a position on this matter so that we send a clear message that when such a function occurs like the Olympics, it is not an opportunity for joy riding.
Fair enough! Given that we have received no communication from the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, I want to direct that the Leader of Government Business offers an explanation to this House on Tuesday next week at 2.30 p.m. as to why this Minister was not available in the House to answer Question No.1511. So, the Question will appear on the Order Paper on that day. Among other things, perhaps the Leader of Government Business will give an explanation as to why we have had to carry so many Ministers to London to watch the Olympics. So it will be at 2.30 p.m. next week on Tuesday.
asked the Minister for Information and Communications:- (a) what the latest progress on the development or construction of the proposed Konza ICT City is; (b) whether he could update the House on how many committed investors have so far been identified; and, (c) what criteria will be used to consider prospective investors.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a)The Government’s plan to establish a technology city to promote Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO)/Information Technology (IT) enabling services for wealth and employment creation is progressing well. The city will be developed through a private/public partnership financing model where the Government will concentrate on provision of the necessary basic infrastructures and policy and legal framework, in accordance with the best global practices. (b)As concerns the latest progress, the Government has made tremendous achievement as demonstrated in the following activities. (i) The Konza Technopolis Development Authority that will oversee development of the project has been gazetted and the Ministry is in the process of operationalising it. (ii) Market testing has been conducted in Asia, Europe and America. (iii) The Ministry has also promoted the project through media campaigns to create interest among local investors. (iv) Expression of interest to procure a master delivery partner was completed and a request for proposals has been issued to enable us identify suitable firms or consortiums to provide technical support to the Authority. You will notice that since this answer was supplied, some developments have taken place here because the interviews were done with the master delivery partners who expressed interest. Since then, that was done with the Government of Kenya together with the IFC who is the technical advisor. The master delivery partner has been identified but the identity and details are awaited from the World Bank. (v) A perimeter fence and a site office has been constructed. (vi) The Director of Physical Planning in the Ministry of Lands has issued notices of intention to plan the 500,000 acres Konza City and the ten kilometers buffer zone around it for controlled development. In addition, the Director of Physical Planning together with the master planner partner is to complete the master plan. The Ministry is also in the final stages of getting approval for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) from NEMA. I am happy to report that since then, that approval has been granted by NEMA.
(vii) Preparation for investors’ conference scheduled for 7th to 8th August, 2012 is ongoing. This will be held next week, and I wish to take this opportunity to welcome hon. Members to participate in this conference which will be attended by local and international participants.
(viii) Engagement with potential investors/stakeholders in different forums to get their support for the project. (c)So far, more than 150 international and local companies/individuals have shown interest to invest in Konza City. This is overwhelming. Committed investors will be identified once Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KTDA) is established and the master delivery partner is on board. The master developer in collaboration with the KTDA will have structures build then sold to investors just like any other real estate project. This is to avoid speculative investors who will hold up the development of this new city. This model was used in the development of the Smart Village in Egypt. Where necessary, land leases will be limited to investors who have proven ability to start construction within six months. This will address the challenges that were experienced by the Export Processing Authority (EPA) where land was leased to investors who were not ready to start construction immediately. Professional qualification will also be considered where competence is required in the management and performance of specialized work/services. A detailed criterion will be developed once the KTDA is operational.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to thank the Assistant Minister for that answer. However, I want to remind him that a similar Question was asked here on 22nd December, 2010.In answer, he said that Kshs400 million was allocated to create the infrastructure within the vicinity of the techno city. I can see that they have only done the fence and the site office. When are they going to do the roads, the sewerage system and the other important basic infrastructure so that when the investors come, they can find it ready for investment?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, that is why the design has to be completed by the master planner in partnership with the Government. This can only be done once the land within the 5,000 acres has been demarcated by the Physical Planner, which he has not yet done. So once it has been identified; once we know where the sewers are going to be, where the roads are going to be and where other facilities are going to be, that is when we will start and I can assure you that it is going to be very soon.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, previously the Government created what they called Export Economic Zones (EEZ) as a move to spur or promote economic growth. They are now coming up with the Konza ICT City. What difference is there and what makes it much better than the EPZ they used to have?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would not be an authority to know what exactly the difference is but what I know that what we are doing is just a business city only; that it is a smart city, it is an ICT city, it is a green city and it is going to be purely commercial. It is a profit based business where investors expect to reap from their business. The other one was meant more like to develop imports in Kenya and create employment but here we are doing much more because we are creating employment. We are planning a new city in total and the Government is dealing with serious investors who are going to make---
It is not the country which is going to make losses or the profits. This will be done, basically, through the investors themselves.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, what is the Government doing to control the mushrooming of the buildings near the city which buildings are not in conformity with the envisaged buildings within the city itself?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in my answer, I indicated that the Government is zoning the 10 kilometers around the city. It has to operate like the normal way we operate. There will be areas designated for businesses while others will be left for residential settlement. So, if it is affecting the villagers who are living there already, I am sure solutions will have to be found because we do not want to encourage slums in that city. So, the Government is taking action and more will be seen after the master planning has been finalised.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the people of Machakos County are very much interested in this project. Is it possible for the Assistant Minister to engage them so that they know what investment opportunities are available for them?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wish to confirm that interactions have been going on for the local community to own the project. The Ministry is ready at all times to engage the people because we want them to be proud of the project. This is a national project, but we know the people of Machakos County will be the major beneficiaries. As soon as this is done, more of those cities will start rolling out in other counties in this country. So, we, as a Ministry, are engaging the local community to understand and own this project, so that they can reap the maximum benefits from it.
asked the Minister of State for Special Programmes:-
(a) how much money the Ministry has received for purchase of land to resettle Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) following the 2007/2008 Post Election Violence from the Treasury and other development partners
(b) whether she could provide details of the land bought for resettlement of IDPs, indicating the respective locations of such land; and,
(c) whether she could state how many IDPs have been resettled as well as those yet to be resettled and indicate the respective locations of settlement and when the Ministry will resettle those who have not been resettled.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, first of all, before I reply I want to say that the Ministry of Special Programmes actually does not purchase land; it is the Ministry of lands which does this. But nevertheless, I have information of the parcels that have been purchased and the money that has been given.
(a) In the Financial Year 2009/2010, the Ministry of Lands was given Kshs1.4 billion. In the Financial Year 2010/2011, they got Kshs1.5 billion; in the Financial Year 2011/2012, they got Kshs2.5 billion and in the current year, they have Kshs1.8 billion. That makes a total of Kshs7.2 billion. The Government has not received any funding from development partners for purchase of land for resettlement of IDPs, but we have received donations of land from County Councils of Turkana and Lodwar and from a Reverend Gichuki.
(b) The Government has purchased the parcels that have been forwarded to me to resettle IDPs; 99 parcels which measure 17,183.53 acres and I will table the list.
However, Mr. Speaker, Sir, three of these parcels have issues and although the IDPs are there, we have not been able to completely resettle them and we are awaiting the issues to be resolved.
(c) The Government has resettled 5,200 IDP households on Government purchased land and 2,593 will be settled on the land donated by the County Council of Turkana and the Municipal Council of Lodwar. This gives the total of 7,793 IDP households resettled. We are yet to resettle 1,778 households. The Government is in the process of procuring approximately 5,652 acres of land to resettle the remaining households. Once this is done, then we will finish the resettlement programme. Here is the table because I am sure I cannot read the 99 of parcels and it shows the areas and so on.
Go on; table it.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, while appreciating the determination by the Minister to speed up settlement of IDPs, I note that the County Council of Turkana and the Municipal Council of Lodwar donated 1,400 acres of land. Could she indicate to this House how this land was allocated to each family and whether the beneficiaries have been issued with title deeds?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Ministry of Lands has just finished the planning. We have given out contracts for the construction of the houses which I believe is ongoing. After which, the titles will be given. As is the case with the other parcels, no titles have yet been issued.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, this issue of IDPs is a very funny issue. What is surprising me as one of the recipients of most of the IDPs is that when IDPs were separated; some went to Naivasha and others came to Ol Kalou. Those who went to Naivasha have been resettled while the Ol Kalou IDPs who actually live under water have been left high and dry. Their chairlady died before she had registered them with the Ministry. What is the Minister doing to settle them because they have always been in high spirits and we are running short of time? What is she doing to resettle those people who are actually languishing under water?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, unfortunately, these IDPs were not captured. However, we are looking at how we will accommodate them before we conclude the whole exercise.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the past, the Ministry had confirmed that it was committed to ensuring that all the IDP camps are closed after resettlement of the IDPs. The Minister has indicated that there are still 1,778 IDPs to be resettled. What assurance can she give to the IDPs that they will be settled before the general election? Could she give an indication when they are likely to complete the resettlement exercise? Will they be settled before the next elections or they will vote while in the IDP camps?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am unable to say the exact date because we have had issues when we buy land and the host community is, in some cases, not very accommodating. So, the exercise has had a lot of challenges. But we are trying as much as possible to ensure that we do not go into elections before this is done.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wish to draw the attention of the Minister to the fact that there are some IDPs in Kieni Forest here in Kiambu who, actually, have been involved even in tracing land. They have identified a piece of land somewhere in Laikipia, but the Government, for one reason or another, is unable to assist them to acquire it. They are over 800 families settled in a parcel of about six acres in really squalid conditions. What is the Government doing to ensure that they are helped to buy that land and assisted to resettle out of the forest?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am aware of the Kieni as well as the other forest evictees. They are all being resettled together. The technical committee has already gone to visit the land. After inspection, they will furnish me with a report. But in the meantime, they are being looked after and they will be resettled as we resettle other forest evictees.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, there are a number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who were told to decamp from their camp at Alco. They are about 472. What is happening to them because they are not in the camp and have not been given any settlement? What arrangement does the Government have to resettle them?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am not sure whether I know about these IDPs. Could the hon. Member clarify a little bit on who they are?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, Alco is one of those camps which were captured by the Government and it had 759 families. A number of them were taken to Trans Nzoia and 472 families were left behind. The Minister assured them that they would get accommodation by June this year. What is happening now since she has not given them accommodation? What is the arrangement to settle those IDPs?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the reason is that the purchase of the land, that is, Majani Mingi, has not been finalized. I believe that, that is where they will move to.
Last question, hon. Njuguna!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, could the Minister indicate to this House what the Ministry has done to make sure that the integrated IDPs, including those who are at Keracha, in Kamae Location and in Magina, Lari Location in my constituency are settled? Could the Minister agree to visit my constituency to see the most deplorable conditions under which these people live?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am happy to visit his constituency to see the IDPs. Unfortunately, the integrated IDPs will be captured under the IDP Policy, which I hope to be bring to Parliament in the next two or three weeks. I will be able to get guidance and funding on how to help them.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. You have just heard the hon. Minister say very clearly that they have not covered integrated IDPs within their programme and that they will be covered under a policy. A policy does not actually talk about compensation or anything like that. Is the Minister, therefore, in order to deliberately discriminate or confess that the Government is deliberately discriminating against a category of IDPs?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, my mandate was very clear. I was given a data of the people who I was to settle. So, if that is discrimination, maybe it is, but I do not know. However, those are the people I was given to resettle, and that is exactly what I am doing.
asked the Minister for Lands:- (a) whether he could confirm that land LR/No.Nakuru/Olenguruone/ Kiptagich/227 belong to Messrs Kipsang Arap Kiget and William Kipsang Bii; (b) whether he is aware that a well connected individual has denied the duo access to the land; and, (c) whether he could ensure that the two have access to their land.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) Land Reference No. Nakuru/Olenguruone/Kiptagich/227 measuring 3.0 hectares is registered in the names of Kipsang arap Kibet and William Kipsang Bii. (b) I am not aware that a well connected individual has denied the duo access to the land. (c) Since the two people are the registered owners of the land, they should seek a court order to stop any interference by the individual denying them access.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to thank the Assistant Minister for this answer. First, I thank him for confirming that this piece of land belongs to these two
. However, I want to inform him that on part “b” of the answer, it is also true that these two individuals have been denied access to the land and yet they have obtained a court order. May I request the Assistant Minister, even if this is not within his docket, and now that he is seated next to the Prime Minister, that, as a Government, he helps these two helpless wazee to access their land, now that they have a court order advising the person who occupies that land now to get out of it.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wish to advise my brother that if the two individuals have a court order, they should take it to the police to enforce it.
Last question, the Member for Konoin.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I said that the person occupying this land is well connected. These two people have gone to the police and nothing has happened. Now that the Assistant Minister is seated next to the Prime Minister, can he request the Prime Minister to order the Police Commissioner to enforce this order?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am capable of answering without consulting the Prime Minister. The truth of the matter is that if the court has ordered and the police have refused, they should go back to court, so that they can get a contempt of court order. The police will be served with a contempt of court order. I do not need to tell the Prime Minister but I need to tell the hon. Member.
Order! The Member for Konoin, does the court order say that the police officer in charge of a particular police station should enforce that order?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am not very sure about the enforcer, but the court order says that the land belongs to the two individuals.
Order, the Member for Konoin! You need to be sure. Could you, please, have time to discuss with the Member for Imenti Central or Kisumu Town West? You will understand the import of what I have said.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do understand. Let me go and check.
Do that and you will, in fact, have a remedy almost immediately. Just do what I have said.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
asked the Minister for Fisheries Development:- (a) whether he could provide a list of all projects undertaken by the Ministry in Molo Constituency, indicating the respective cost of each project since 2009; and, (b) how many projects are operational.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) My Ministry has undertaken the following projects in Molo Constituency since 2009:- 1. Construction of 200 fish ponds at a cost of Kshs5 million during the 2009/2010 Financial Year. We have also constructed 100 fish ponds at a cost of Kshs2,500,000 during the 2010/2011 Financial Year. Some other five ponds were constructed in five learning institutions in the constituency during the 2011/2012 Financial Year. 2. My Ministry has also constructed one shallow water retention reservoir in Naishi Location, Njoro at a cost of Kshs500,000 during the 2010/2011 Financial Year. However, during the long rains of 2011, the dam was washed away together with the fish. The Constituencies Development Fund (CDF) Committee of Molo has been approached to help in the rehabilitation of this dam. 3. As a Ministry, we did purchase 200,000 fingerlings for 200 fish ponds at a cost of Kshs600,000 during the 2009/2010 Financial Year. We also purchased 106,000 fingerlings for 100 fish ponds and for the water reservoir at a cost of Kshs748,000 during the 2010/2011 Financial Year. 4. We also purchased one 0.5 millimeter low density polythene liner sheets at a cost of Kshs90,000 in the 2009/2010 Financial Year. We also purchased ten 0.5 millimeter low density polythene sheets at a cost of Kshs1,050,000 in the 2010/2011 Financial Year.
(b) My Ministry has implemented the programme as outlined above and all the projects components, except the dam, have been operationalized in Molo Constituency.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, as stated by the Minister, it is true that all these projects were undertaken, but all of them, after being constructed, the Ministry of Fisheries Development never followed them up and all of them collapsed. None of them is working. Could he clarify whether he is in a position to rehabilitate all these fish pond projects? The projects consumed a lot of money and it is going to the drain.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the only project that had problems in Molo Constituency as I have already indicated is the shallow water dam. I am not aware of any fish pond that is not in working condition. If the Member has any evidence to that effect, then as a Ministry, we are very much willing to follow it up very closely. We have recently posted a District Fisheries Officer to that district and we have not received any information to the contrary that indeed, some of these fish ponds are not operational.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Ministry of Fisheries Development needs to widen its thinking about the creation of proper fish farming in this country. Too much emphasis is being laid on fish ponds while in areas surrounding large water masses like Mombasa, Kisumu, Naivasha and Turkana, it would be more cost effective to have fish cages. What is the Ministry doing to ensure that this is done so that we can spend less and produce more?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, indeed, as a Ministry we are moving towards that particular direction. We have already commissioned studies to this effect. In fact, as far as the ocean is concerned, we want to do farming within the ocean through marine culture. This approach is still very much at the study level and we should move to actualization once we receive the results of these studies.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not know whether the Minister is aware of Naishi Fish Pond which was washed away by the heavy rains. The contract was awarded, but the contractor never finished his job. He even never paid the labourers. Could the Minister accompany me to the constituency to see for himself that whatever he has been briefed by his officers are nothing but lies?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, we do not have a pond at Naishi. What we have is a shallow water reservoir at Naishi. What happened in 2011 during the long rains is that it was washed away together with the fingerings that we had stocked in that particular shallow water dam. However, as a Ministry, we are very much willing to accompany the Member to his constituency to make sure that whatever issues he has raised with the Ministry are well addressed on the ground.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Could I be in order to ask the Minister to be specific and state the date when I can go with him or with whoever he can instruct from the Ministry to the constituency, so that he can verify that what I have said is true?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, on the specific date when as a Ministry we will go to Molo, that is something we can agree with the Member for Molo, so that we can find a convenient date which is agreeable to both parties. I may give a date on the Floor of the House which may be convenient to me, but not convenient to the Member. Therefore, I undertake to consult with the Member and agree on a date when as a Ministry, we will go to Molo Constituency.
asked the Minister for Labour:- (a) whether he is aware that Superform Limited wrongfully terminated seven of its technical workers on 28th December, 2011, without notice; (b) whether he is further aware that these workers have not been paid their benefits to date despite several attempts to have the same settled; and, (c) when all the seven workers will receive their benefits and other dues as required by law.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg your indulgence that this Question be deferred until Tuesday next week to allow more consultation on this matter with the Member of Parliament and my office, to find ways of resolving this matter with the relevant authorities.
Member for Juja, do you want to accommodate the Minister for more time?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I might have no choice but to accept because really, he is saying he is not ready. But you realize that a Question takes very long before it is put on the Order Paper. Really, we can agree on what day because we have other Questions that are queuing.
Thursday next week?
Next week is fine, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Is that so, Minister, Thursday next week at 2.30 p.m.?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, Thursday next week is okay.
asked the Minister for Medical Services:- (a) how many patients have been diagnosed with the highly contagious and drug resistant XDR-TB infection in the country and how many have died due to lack of treatment; (b) whether he could confirm or deny that the only XDR-TB treatment – Nomosim, has not been registered by the Government; and, (c) whether the Government has set aside money for development of isolation and treatment of XDR-TB infection and prevention of its spread and, if so, how much and whether he could also state gains made in arresting the TB burden in the country.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg the indulgence of the Chair. This Question cuts across two Ministries and heavily leans towards the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation. The mitigation measures for TB are under the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation. I have discussed with our sister Ministry and we have agreed that they are going to answer this Question.
Member for Butula, you are prepared to give that indulgence?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I accept that.
The Question then will appear on the Order Paper ten days from today. It is so directed and let the Question go to the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation.
That then brings us to the end of Order No.6 and we want to go to the next Order.
Order, Members! We will first take Statements which are due for delivery this afternoon and we are into the Prime Minister’s Time at this time. So, we will take the Prime Minister’s Statement first.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Today is a very bad and sad day for Kenyans as we are commemorating the 30th Anniversary since the aborted 1982 coup whereby---
Order! Order! The Member for Makadara, I have listened to you. You caught my eye because I thought you would be relevant to Order No.7. Up to where you have gone, you are definitely not relevant to Order No.7. So, please, note. If you look at your Standing Orders again you will see that if you raise a false point of order, which this one amounts to, you are grossly out of order and liable to sanctions. I will forgive you for now because you are not so seasoned yet but if you repeat it, I will impose sanctions immediately. Please, note. The Right hon. Prime Minister, proceed.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. There are two questions which have been raised by two Members of Parliament. One is the hon. Member for Kamukunji, hon. Yusuf Hassan Abdi who asked the Prime Minister how many official trips the Rt. hon. Prime Minister had undertaken since his appointment in 2008 and how much money has been spent on transport, air tickets and accommodation. The hon. Member for Samburu East, hon. Letimalo had asked whether the Prime Minister could provide a list of official foreign trips made by the President, Vice President, the Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers and Assistant Ministers since the formation of the Grand Coalition Government and how much money the Government had spent on their transport, air tickets, accommodation including those of the delegations. I have decided to---
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
What is it the Member for Samburu East and note the comments that I made with respect to the Member for Makadara. Rt. hon. Prime Minister, please, resume your seat.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I believe that I will be relevant to the Statement.
Proceed! Raise your point of order.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Statement that the Right hon. Prime Minister is about to give arises from the questions that both hon. Yusuf Hassan and I raised. I thought it would have been fairer if the Right hon. Prime Minister gave us a copy of the written answer so that we can interrogate the Statement. Otherwise, he is just giving us a blank Statement and it will be difficult to interrogate it.
Fair enough! That is legitimate. Right hon. Prime Minister, do you have a copy of the written answer?
The Member for Samburu East, apparently, there is a written answer which we will now pass on to you. If at the end of the Statement, you still do not feel comfortable raising any issues, then we will accord you time to raise any requests for clarification. This will be passed to you now.
Mr. Speaker, the President, the Prime Minister, the Vice President, Ministers and Assistant Ministers are Members of this august House. Their class of air travel and the rates of their subsistence allowance while on official travel outside the country are set by the Parliamentary Service Commission. The Government has issued a directive to all its departments to apply the rates set by the Parliamentary Service Commission. That circular is available here. I will make it available. For travel by other Government officers, their class of air travel and subsistence allowances are set by the Ministry of State for Public Service taking into account the cost of living in various destinations and comparative data from other Governments and international organizations. The document is also here and tabled.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, as part of the ongoing austerity measures, the Government has imposed the following measures for official travel outside the country. (i) Limited official delegations to a maximum of three for general missions and six for missions to negotiate financial agreements for funding of development programmes. Should there arise a need for the delegation to be larger, authority should be sought from the Permanent Secretary, Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of Public Service. (ii) Government has rationalized class of air travel as follows. 1. All Cabinet Ministers use First Class. 2. Assistant Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Parastatal Heads and other officers in job group “S” use Business Class. 3. All other officers use Economy Class. With the exception of Ministers, Assistant Ministers and Permanent Secretaries, all public servants travelling locally and within the East African Region use Economy Class. 4. In all cases, procurement of air tickets is done using the cheapest available option and the most direct and economical route. On the basis of the information available so far, I am able to provide a breakdown of the number of international trips, cost of travel and accommodation expenses for the following 37 Ministries out of a total of 40 Ministries. 1. On the Ministry of Trade, the total cost of the official foreign travel made by one Deputy Prime Minister, three Cabinet Ministers and three Assistant Ministers including their delegations stand at Kshs23.4 million. I am rounding off the figures. 2. Ministry of Finance spent Kshs193.6 million. This amount excludes accommodation and other expenses which we are still getting relevant information on. 3. The total expenditure on the Ministry of Energy is Kshs30 million. 4. Ministry of Water and Irrigation spent Kshs37 million. 5. On the Ministry of Livestock Development, the cost of trips by the Minister is Kshs7 million and the Assistant Minister, Kshs649,650. We are yet to get information on the cost of foreign trips for the period of 2008 and 2010. 6. The Ministry of Co-operative Development and Marketing spent Kshs14.5 million. 7. Ministry of State for Immigration and Registration of Persons spent Kshs5 million and Kshs999.5 for the Minister and Assistant respectively. 8. Ministry of State for Public Service - Kshs42.5 million. 9. Ministry of State for the Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands - Kshs12 million. 10. Ministry of State for National Heritage and Culture - Kshs3.6 million. 11. Ministry of State for Special Programmes - Kshs17.6 million. 12. Ministry of Agriculture - Kshs47.5 million. 13. Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Kshs27.5 million. 14. Ministry of Fisheries Development - Kshs5.4 million. 15. Ministry of East African Community - Kshs70.9 million. 16. Ministry of Education - Kshs38.2 million. 17. Ministry of Medical Services - Kshs32.5 million. 18. Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation - Kshs16.8 million. 19. Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife - Kshs14.5 million. 20. Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development - Kshs12 million. 21. Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology - Kshs46.9 million. 22. Ministry of Housing - Kshs14.1 million. 23. Ministry of Industrialization - Kshs7.5 million. 24. Ministry of Information and Communications - Kshs12.2 million. 25. Ministry of Labour - Kshs27 million. 26. Ministry of Lands - Kshs3.9 million. 27. Ministry of Public Works - Kshs967,000. 28. Ministry of Roads - Kshs20.6 million. 29. Ministry of Transport - Kshs8.5 million. 30. The State Law Office - Kshs33 million. 31. Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources - Kshs36.9 million. 32. Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan Development - Kshs44.8 million. 33. Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports - Kshs15.3 million. 34. Ministry of State for Planning and National Development and Vision 2030 - Kshs35.5 million. 35. Ministry of State for Defence - Kshs30.4 million. 36. Office of the Prime Minister - Kshs133 million. 37. The Office of the President has asked for more time to compile details and the costs of foreign trips by His Excellency the President. 38. The Office of the Vice President has asked for more time to compile details on the cost of foreign trips by the Vice-President. 39. Other Ministries: The Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs, Ministry of Regional Development Authorities and Ministry of Tourism are in the process of making available relevant information. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in conclusion I wish to add the following: Whenever the President, the Prime Minister and the Vice-President travel abroad their delegations include their immediate aides, other Ministers, officials of other Ministries, security officers and in some cases representatives of the private sector. Foreign travel by Government officials should not be measured by the cost of air fare and accomodation but by what is achieved in the broader picture during those visits. The cost of air fares and accomodation are matters that are influenced by factors beyond the control of the Government such as the international oil prices, the cost of living in various countries, et cetera. Mr. Speaker, Sir, international travel is an essential part of Government work and processes. It is not a luxury or an activity that can be avoided in the functioning of any Government. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, obviously, the Prime Minister has confirmed that several Ministries have not been able to give him the data that we want to interrogate. It is therefore, very difficult for the country to know exactly the global amount that has been wasted or well spent. It is important that the Prime Minister indicates when he will be ready with the answer so that we deal with it when all the Ministries have been tabulated lest we be seen to be witch-hunting on only one Ministry.
Right hon. Prime Minister, are you able to indicate when all the information will be in?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have provided information for 37 Ministries. Only three Ministries are outstanding to get the global figure. In the same breath, I had been asked also to raise a question here that we also need to get information about how much Members of Parliament have used in their foreign trips.
Order. Right hon. Prime Minister, you have not responded to that concern. How long do you require to supply the balance of the information?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it can be available as early as next week.
Shall we give you two weeks and then we will revisit this matter as necessary?
Two weeks is fine.
Order, Hon. Members. That will be so. With respect to travel by Members of Parliament, actually we have a Question which has been filed with my office to provide figures for all Members of Parliament. But even as we go in that direction, Right hon. Prime Minister, I think you have spoken to this matter properly but I think we will have to bear in mind as a country that we have three arms of Government. So, if you want to do a comparative analysis, then you will have to separate the Executive from the Legislature and the Judiciary and look at it this way: Have we been equal in expenditure of resources in so far as the Executive is concerned compared to the legislature and the Judiciary? That is the way we will go. Very well. Those who have concerns---
Right hon. Prime Minister, please wait for questions now. Those who want clarifications, we will begin with the Member for Samburu East.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, despite the fact that three Ministries have not submitted the cost of their expenses, I want to thank the Prime Minister for that comprehensive Statement. Even though we have not been able to actually get the actual total cost of the amount of money spent by Cabinet, but certainly that is really collossal. My concern here is that we are seated here - I came from my constituency two days ago - schools are about to close because there is no food in boarding schools. Drought-striken areas which normally depend on relief food are not getting food. Does the Prime Minister feel it is fair for the Government to spend such collossal amounts of money on official trips when schools are about to close down before their scheduled closing day just because they are not getting funds from the Government? Secondly, experience has shown that even here in Parliament we have realized that constitutional Bills that are supposed to be published so as to beat the deadline are not published on time because Ministers who are supposed to process and publish these constitutional Bills are either outside the country or not available. Do we not consider that the absence of Cabinet Ministers, particularly because they have gone out of the country really paralyzes the services that they are supposed to give to the people of Kenya?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I guess this question arises out of the collective wisdom that was exercised by this House earlier on in the year, through the recommendations by the Budget Committee, which recommended that foreign travel expenditure in all Government Ministries and departments, including Parliament, be reduced to about 50 per cent. We made that recommendation out of the concern that far too many Government delegations were kind of living outside this country and incurring so much recurrent expenditure. Looking at these figures, I now understand why I do not see some of our Ministers here. I now know where they are. There are some Ministers whom I do not recognise when I see them on the Floor of the House. I need not name them here, but I can name them outside this House. I have been wondering where they are, but looking at these figures; I now know where the particular Members of the Front Bench have been. So, could the Prime Minister confirm that the wisdom of the Budget Committee, through Parliament, to ensure a reduction in the foreign travel expenditure incurred by the Government is, indeed, well placed and rational for the greater good of the Kenyan public? Could he further confirm that moving forward into next year; the same shall not be revised upwards? Thank you.
Yes, Member for Machakos Town.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, my question to the Prime Minister is on the selection of members of the delegations that accompany the three principals. There are fears that the selections are guided by intent to reward individuals for their loyalty. In that case, what is the Prime Minister doing to make the process of selecting members of delegations above board and transparent?
Yes, Member for Ainamoi.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the figures that have been given to us are very huge. In fact, the Prime Minister’s presentation was not very good. He should have given us a summarised foreign travel budget for each Ministry or department per year, plus the actual expenditure incurred by each Ministry or department in each year. Since he is coming back on the same question, would I be in order to ask him to give us a breakdown of the foreign travel budget for each Ministry in each year, plus the actual expenditure incurred by each Minister in each year, and tell us whether there are Ministries which exceeded their budgets in the respective years?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to speak on two very small points. The Prime Minister has told us about the size of a delegation and, specifically, he said that it is supposed to comprise of between three and six people. What is the relevance of some of the people who make foreign trips? To help him see the import of what I am saying, let us look at the current delegation that travelled to London for the Olympics. What is the relevance of hon. Poghisio, hon. Otuoma, hon. Kabando wa Kabando, hon. Mwakwere, hon. Oparanya, hon. Shitanda, hon. Mbarire, hon. Kiraitu Murungi, hon. Ongeri and Permanent Secretary (PS) Waweru, PS Godwin Oluoch on that trip? Finally, the law contemplates that a state officer will not use state resources to campaign. Could he tell us, especially now that we are headed for the home stretch of the forthcoming general election campaigns, why the Office of the Prime Minister and the Office of the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs facilitate the two to go and meet Kenyan voters in the diaspora? If he thinks that it is not illegal, how much are they spending on this exercise? If he is convinced that it is illegal, can he issue a Statement to the effect that, henceforth, the Prime Minister and the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs shall never use state resource to go and meet Kenyan voters in the diaspora?
The last one, Member for Lari!
Order! Order! Member for Dujis, you have not been consistent. You will have noticed that I hesitated quite a bit, but I did not see you on your feet. So, I picked the Member for Ikolomani.
Proceed, Member for Lari.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, acknowledging the content in the Statement given by the Prime Minister this afternoon, could he enumerate to the House tangible benefits that have been realised from those foreign trips? I mean benefit for the ordinary Kenyan.
The Right Hon. Prime Minister, you may now respond.
Hon. Members, I am afraid that we will not go beyond there.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Member for Samburu East said that the amounts are colossal and he feels that other services that the Government is supposed to render are suffering. First, I want him to understand that these figures are actually for the period from the time the Grand Coalition Government was formed to date. They are not for one financial year. We are talking about the period from 2008 to 2012.
Secondly, I would want it known that before Ministers travel out of the country, they have to get clearance and approval from the President. Therefore, a Minister has to show that the trip that he or she is about to make has some benefits to the Government. He or she should show that he or she has been invited, or that there is official duty relevant to his or her Ministry that he or she is going to perform during that particular trip. Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is only after such information has been provided that the President gives clearance to a Minister. Without such clearance, a Minister cannot exit the airport, unlike for hon. Members of Parliament. So, my position is that services should not suffer. When Ministers are outside the country, they are also working for and on behalf of the people of Kenya. Hon. Mbau said that Parliament had made a decision to reduce the travel expenditure by 50 per cent, and he wants me to confirm the wisdom of the Budget Committee in reduction of the same. Mr. Speaker, Sir, arbitrary action in this kind of situation will not really help. You do not just look at what we get locally. Sometimes Ministers have to travel out to negotiate on behalf of the Government. I want to give an example. I recently went on a tour to the Republic of China. That trip may have cost between Kshs1 million and Kshs2 million, but I managed to negotiate for grants and soft loans worth more than Kshs5 billion.
So, stopping Ministers from travelling abroad does not help this country. I do not think it is wise for a decision to be made arbitrarily to half the Government’s foreign travel budget. Doing so would not be helping the country. You will be tying the Minister here, but at the same time, you will be denying the country funds which such a Minister would have brought for the service of this country. Therefore, I would like to appeal that the Executive be allowed to use its discretion to clear those trips the way it has happened in the past, just as the Executive does not stop Members of Parliament from travelling.
Hon. Onyancha asked about the Members of Parliament who accompany the President, the Vice-President and the Prime Ministers on those tours, and said they are rewarded for loyalty. I can speak for myself that that is not true. I invite Members of Parliament once in a while when an occasion arises; I take Members from both sides of the coalition and not just from my side of the coalition. Hon. Mbuvi has applied---
The hon. Member for Ainamoi wants us to give a budget breakdown per year. That information is available in the documents that I have already tabled before the House and he can scrutinize them. However, most of it is within the budgeted figure. In other words, money spent by Ministers in their travels are not in excess of the Budget which has been approved by this House. Therefore, the Ministers have not committed any crime by travelling when Parliament itself has approved those monies for travel by the Ministers.
Hon. Khalwale wanted to know about the relevance of Ministers travelling abroad. Ministers travelling with the President or with the Prime Minister are usually those whose portfolios are affected by the trips. Recently, I went to China with the Minister for Transport, because he was going to talk about the Lamu Port. I travelled with the Minister for Finance. There was a conference going on there on China-Africa Cooperation Forum and we travelled together with the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The President of China offered a 20-billion-dollar soft loan to African Governments and Kenya is going to be one of the first beneficiaries of that loan.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I travelled with the Minister for Regional Development Authorities because we were looking for funds for the Grand Falls Dam in Mutonga in Meru where we want to put up a 500 megawatt power generation plant. So, all these Ministers do not go on a joy ride. Right now, His Excellency the President is in London, for example, with a number of Ministers whom the hon. Member has mentioned. The President is not only there on a leisure tour. He is on a promotional tour. For the information of the hon. Member, yesterday, in fact, he opened the Kenya House in London, where there is a lot of Kenyan exhibition going on. Yesterday, there was an investment conference on Kenya in London, and they were showcasing Kenya. The Minister for Energy was talking about energy issues, construction of pipelines and refineries in the country. The Minister for Transport was there because they were talking about the Lamu Port. The Minister for Information and Communications is also there because of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Konza City project. I know that all those Ministers who are right now in London with the President are there because their portfolios are affected by the presidential tour in promoting Kenya.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, therefore, I would want to say in conclusion that no Government can work if it is isolated. See what is happening to North Korea for example. It is a pariah nation. We know what can happen, for example, if sanctions are applied against a country like Iran. This country must market itself. The Minister for Tourism travels abroad to go and market Kenya whenever he goes out of the country. The Minister for Water also needs to move around and negotiate with other countries. There are those who are giving this country loans but there are others who give this country grants. So, over and above the money which has been approved by Parliament, there is also that money which comes into this country in the form of grants. We cannot sit here and wait for somebody to come and access you and say that they want to give you a grant. We need to go out there and negotiate it. Mr. Speaker, Sir, so, do not look at the figures we have here as the money which is wasted or gone down the drain. I can give you a comparison to show the amount that we spend on these travels is peanuts compared to the amount of money that comes to the country as a result of those trips. Therefore, it would be very unwise for this august House to try to tie the hands of Ministers, or to tie them to their seats here in Nairobi. I would want to appeal to hon. Members of the House to know that it is very important for the Executive to be able to go out to negotiate on behalf of this country, to make friends with other countries, because this is how we are going to be able to get the capital that we require for the economic take off of this country.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. The Prime Minister seems to have left out one of my points. Could he speak on the issue of campaigns for diaspora votes carried out abroad by the Vice-President and the Prime Minister?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, nobody--- The Vice- President does not go to campaign among the diaspora neither does the Prime Minister do that. It is standard practice that whenever a senior member of the Government is out there on official duty, Kenyans who live out there organise themselves and they want to be addressed by the visiting member of the Government. The President addressed Kenyans the day before yesterday in London. When I go to London, I am going to be addressing Kenyans next Saturday. I am going also to address other sets of investors in London. So, this is not a campaign issue. That is the time that the Vice-President donates when he is out there. It is discretionary. You can address or you can also not address people. Sometimes Ministers do not address people. When the Prime Minister is out there, Kenyans will come. Recently, I was in the City of Guanzhou in China and over 200 Kenyans came to meet me. Unfortunately, because of the insecurity as per the Chinese officials--- The fear of Al-Shabaab, Al Qaeda and so on, I was not allowed to address these Kenyans, but they were allowed to just send four people to my room to discuss with me. They had travelled from various parts of the country. So, the answer to the question is that the Vice-President and the Prime Minister do not travel on Government expenses to go and campaign among the Kenyan diaspora.
Order, hon. Members! As we conclude the matter, Rt. Hon. Prime Minister, the Speaker does not have the Floor on this matter but because of my office, I have information with respect to where Members really are coming from. Members have been concerned, and I think Kenyans, to know whether or not we are living beyond our means. One of the things Members have asked is to be provided with figures as to total Government revenue over the past three years, for instance, and then how much we have spent for every year. This information simply has not been forthcoming. So, maybe when you return after two weeks as we have agreed, you will perhaps come with that information. Rt. Hon. Prime Minister, take it this way, when we asked the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), they said we have been collecting an average of roughly Kshs650 billion per year. Now, you are saying that we do not absorb roughly 50 per cent of our Budget. So what happens to what is not absorbed? You see this is not being answered. Maybe, when you come you will want to give that information.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Budget is usually approved by this House. When the Minister brings here the Budget, the Budget Statement has the figures of the previous year’s Budget. The figures of what was voted are always there. What is not there usually is what was spent and what was not. What is not spent is all the time re-voted in the figures of the next Budget. The current figures include what was not spent and what is going to be raised as revenue in the course of that financial year. That is usually the actual figure.
That is fair, Rt. Hon. Prime Minister. Go and worry about those figures, and I think Members will have very many issues to raise with you. Is there any other Statement for delivery after the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister? Is there any Minister ready with a Statement to deliver? I know there are many Statements pending. None! Then we will take new requests.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I rise to ask for a Ministerial Statement from the Minister of State for Defence and Acting Minister of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security as regards the mysterious circumstances under which Peter Gitura of Gatundu Travellers SACCO, who was the manager, was shot dead yesterday, 31st July, 2012, at Ichaweri Village in Gatundu. He was shot dead just like his predecessor who was shot two years ago. I would wish that in the Statement, the Minister states how far the investigations on the chairman’s case have gone. Also in the Statement, the Minister should state what urgent measures he is taking to ensure the safety of matatu operators, and the general public within the area, remembering that it was along the same road within Gatundu that a bomb was found planted on the road side. The Minister should be able to tell the House in his Statement what measures he is taking to improve security. Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is an important matter and I wish the Minister could listen.
In his Statement, the Minister should tell the House and the country at large, what measures he is going to take to make sure that we do not have further deaths of matatu operators within Gatundu District. I thank you.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Ministry will give this Statement next week on Tuesday afternoon.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. The Chair directed the Minister for Public Health and Sanitation to issue a Statement on the Ebola Virus infection on Tuesday next week. However, something has happened. From breaking news, now we have it that a suspected case of Ebola has been picked in Siaya District Hospital. In view of this, I request that the Chair directs the Minister to give us an interim Statement tomorrow before Kenyans start dying like rats from the Ebola virus infection.
Order! I will direct as the Speaker. You only refer to the Speaker’s Chair when you are in committee or certain sessions. I will direct that the Minister comes with a Statement on the situation with respect to Ebola tomorrow afternoon at 2.30 p.m. I want somebody who can take that message to the Minister. Ms. Mathenge Murugi, can you please take this message personally to the Minister?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, yes, I will do.
Yes. Please, do so today and I am doing this for good reason. I know that you are neighbours, I know that you are buddies.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I rise on a point of order to seek your guidance on a very important issue relating to the proper implementation of the new Constitution. Mr. Speaker, Sir, a credible election is part and parcel of proper implementation of the new Constitution. There have been controversies arising at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). In the process, the Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs has summoned the IEBC to appear before it. I seek your guidance that the Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) be enjoined in that sitting, so that they are able to monitor the process as this is part of the mandate of the CIOC. Thank you.
What is it, Member for Ikolomani? You want to speak to this matter?
Yes, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Indeed, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to support the hon. Member by making the following remark. The forthcoming general election is not just about identifying a President, a Deputy President and all the array of leaders. It is about implementing the Constitution. To be specific, it is about implementing Article 90 on party lists, Article 97 on the constitution of the new National Assembly, Article 98 on the composition of the Senate and Article 100 of the Constitution on the promotion of representation of marginalized groups. If we do not enjoin the CIOC, we are worried because Justice Krigler, in his recommendations--- With your permission, I will quote what Justice Krigler told us in one bullet. In bullet two, Justice Krigler told us that:- “Without delay, the electoral commission should start developing an integrated secure tallying and data transmission system, which will allow computerized data entry and tallying at constituencies, secure simultaneous transmission of individual polling stations level data to the national tallying centre, and the integration of these results handling system in a progressive election result announcement system”. Mr. Speaker, Sir, you will recall that in the absence of this system whereas 2002 was said to have been successful, it was not. This is because you will recall wananchi went and demanded that President Kibaki be announced the winner three days before the end of tallying. Tallying ended on 3rd and that was when they had the results. In 2007, Mr. Speaker, Sir, you know what happened. Therefore, if we enjoin this Committee, then we want to put pressure on the IEBC to tell us why they do not want to computerize the registration of voters. I thank you.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, on the same issue, I support the two hon. Members who have spoken before me but in the light of the now conclusive finding by a majority of the Kenyan Court of Appeal that the date for elections is in March next year, all attention and eyes are now focused on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). We have a collective responsibility, as the House, to ensure that preparations are in accordance with the law and the IEBC gets support of this House. In order to achieve that purpose, the two Committees that are responsible need to jointly meet and, therefore, I support that direction. In fact, I request that you direct that the two Committees sit together when they seek views from the IEBC.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I happen to sit in both Committees. Indeed, I sit at the Committee on the Implementation of the Constitution (CIOC) as the Vice-Chair and I want to support that proposal because even as Dr. Khalwale has said, the issue of elections is also an issue of constitutional implementation. And because there are grave issues that have been raised about, especially the voting system, we want to cultivate confidence in this body. Therefore, I would like to persuade the House that we have the two Committees sitting together so that we can see how we can, as a Parliament, help the IEBC to move forward in a better way.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I also want to support that request by Dr. Eseli given that the CIOC has a legal mandate to oversee the implementation of this Constitution and the new IEBC – I do not know whether it is new again – is required to ensure that their things are done properly. I may be interested also a Member of the CIOC to know if the IEBC takes orders from the Prime Minister or the ODM Party such that when they say biometric voter registration (BVR) should not take place, they just comply.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is a very serious matter and I think the issue of parties or partisanship should not be involved. I agree and I support Dr. Eseli’s proposition that the two Committees sit together but I want to caution the House that it should not appear that hon. Members are imposing terms on the IEBC. Their mandate is constitutional and independent. I need to draw your attention to Standing Order No.178 because the CIOC is constitutional. It has a separate mandate while the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs is a Select Committee of the House. So while Members of the CIOC will join the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, you should issue directions on how they are going to conduct business because in my view, Standing Order No.178 comes into play so that we have an orderly meeting in view of the gravity of the situation.
Hon. Members, I have followed what has transpired, particularly by way of submissions beginning with the point of order raised by Dr. Eseli and supported by Dr. Khalwale, Messrs. Imanyara and Ethuro and Mrs. Odhiambo-Mabona. I am satisfied that this is a matter that is urgent and is of great public interest. I am further satisfied that the two Committees can jointly inquire into the matter of the BVR and file a report in this House at the earliest and in any event not later than 14 days from today.
Further, hon. Members, I am awake to the provisions of Standing Order No.178 and as I understand the legal position to be - or even for that matter, the factual position to be - the Standing Orders are supposed to be facilitative, not restrictive. So we must interpret them as much as possible liberally, practically and taking into account all the prevailing circumstances, more so, guided by public interest. So in the circumstances of this case, I would refer this matter to inquiry by a joint Committee; the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs and the CIOC. We have a lot of precedents on this. When it is a joint Committee, normally the procedure would be that the two Chairpersons co-chair that joint committee. If you have any difficulties at all, we will be available to support you. Where there is an impasse, where there is a dispute or where there is a conflict, you will be free to refer those to the Speaker’s Office and we will give you guidance. But otherwise I will direct that you will proceed with speed being awake to the fact that the IEBC is an independent Commission recognized by the Constitution but I think it is important also to note that the IEBC has finalized its actions in so far as procurement in respect of the BVR is concerned, at least, going by reports which are now in the public domain. So there is nothing like tampering with its independence. I think what is significant here is giving leadership to the IEBC as necessary, and I so direct.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I desisted from speaking to this matter because I am a Member of the Executive and we have always decided not to interfere with the independence of the Commission. But I am very pleased with the direction that this is taking because reference to manual voting is basically just a sign of frustrations and desperations. I think everybody appreciates that there is need for us to go biometric in order to avoid the mess of last time. We really want to wish the joint Committees well in their undertaking.
Order, Mr. Duale! I am hearing you, please restrain yourself. I can even see where your concern is but let us hear the Prime Minister.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the independent flag is always raised but when something has gone terribly wrong, there is need, and I think this House has the mandate and the responsibility, to ensure that what has gone out of track is put back on track so that we can avoid the pitfalls of last time.
Order hon. Members! Mr. Prime Minister, I have heard you and so have the hon. Members. I will want the joint Committees to treat your sentiments as just a submission that is part of the evidence they will take into account and that they will not take that as a binding view. Mr. Duale, please remain assured that the CIOC represents the face and diversity of the House and I have every confidence in them and so with the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs. I am sure they will look into this matter with all the independence they have always been reputed for. Next Order!
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. The agricultural sector provides a livelihood for over 80 per cent of Kenya’s population, most of whom are subsistence farmers in rural areas. The sector contributes about 24 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and another 27 per cent indirectly through sector economic linkages. It accounts for 65 per cent of the country’s export earnings. The Government, therefore, emphasizes on stimulating growth in the sector as outlined in The Agricultural Sector Development Strategy of 2010-2020. A well functioning agricultural extension service operated by the public and the private sector is one of the critical inputs required for the increased agricultural productivity to transform subsistent farming into the modern and commercial farming, attain food security, improve income and reduce poverty. It is, therefore, important to ensure that agricultural extension services are adequately funded, well co-ordinated and regulated; effective linkages between extension service providers and other stakeholders involved in the technology development and provision of facilitating factors and essentials.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the purpose of this Sessional Paper No. 4 of 2011 on National Agricultural Sector Extension Policy (NASEP), which is being tabled, is the first in the history of agriculture. It is expected that it will guide the change of the agricultural sector extension services to become vibrant and functioning; that will drive the sector to the highest levels. The overall objective of the Sessional Paper on National Agricultural Sector Extension Policy is to provide a policy framework that enables the following to: - 1. manage holistic extension service for effective service delivery, 2. develop private sector operated extension services to compliment public extension systems, 3. commercialize and privatize public extension services without compromising public interest, 4. harmonize and provide quality control for the extension approaches and methods, especially those promoting demand driven extension and capacity building for grassroots institutions, 5. create functional institutional co-ordination mechanism to strengthen linkages among key stakeholders; and, 6. mainstream cross cutting issues touching on the extension, for example, gender, HIV/AIDS, financing agriculture, climate change among others.
The Sessional Paper takes a sector-wide approach and addresses key sectoral issues in the delivery of the extension services. It gives guidelines on addressing and creating funding modalities, packaging of technologies, creating capacity building, application of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) in agricultural knowledge and information systems in general. It is anchored within the context of the agricultural sector development strategy principles. The National Agricultural Sector Extension Policy will be easily cascaded to the development of county structures as they take root.
In view of the above and taking cognizance of the need to comprehensively address development of the agricultural sector, which continues to be the engine for the economic growth n the country, this House hereby is urged to support and pass the Sessional Paper No. 4 of 2011, the National Agricultural Sector Extension Policy.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move and request Mr. Mututho to second.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I want to thank the Assistant Minister for Agriculture for bringing this policy which is long overdue. I want from the outset to inform the House that extension services is equivalent to good preaching in case of the Bible or teachers; or good lecturing in case of universities; or good teaching in case of schools. What we are trying to say here is that the passage of that technical information in a way that can be understood and simplified in a version that farmers can appreciate that technology. Therefore, when you are having extension workers that somewhere in between are capable or might distort such messages, then you end up in poor agricultural practices and the result is what we have today.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, there are some organizations in this country, and to the shock of my Committee and everybody else, who have been practicing extension, but they have never bothered to register so that you know who they are and what extension services they are able to give.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in 1982, 1983 and 1984, in Baringo County, there were about 48 agencies, including Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) who were trying to do extension. The net result is now being felt today when we have the Mathenge weed, which was introduced by one man, Kriegler, who was hired by the FAO. He was an expert. He believed this weed was a suitable agronomic crop that can both be used for firewood and also for forage. I am at pains when I do recall the hope and the funds which were bestowed in Baringo at that particular time in an effort to try and rehabilitate Baringo. When you look at what has been achieved today, that would make you and this House to understand what goes on when you have poor extension services.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, a good extension worker goes through several phases of training. The first one is technical, which entails the candidates qualifying in agricultural fields. In agriculture, there are several fields; it could be something to do with farm management, agronomy, soil science, livestock or fisheries. They qualify there and then they are taught how to interface their high technology with the farmers, so that the farmers could adapt to those particular processes.
Today in this country, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have several groups of people who are doing extension. There is one even in Kibera here which has been on it for 17 years or thereabouts. But unless they register and we know who they are and the content development is agreed and harmonized, then we will have very serious ramifications in the overall agricultural production. To give you an example, let us take the wonderful innovation this system we had where they can grow vegetables from a sack. That is very good idea; it is an extremely good idea. You do not have to have a shamba, but you have a sack; you fill it with soil and then you are able to put some little water and then you can have very good vegetables. That is a good practice; that is very innovative, but when you do it next to a main highway, then the question of heavy metal poisoning comes in. Because even if you are doing it outside your house and that you are doing it, for instance, the Hospital Road or this road near Kenyatta National Hospital where the traffic flow is very high; or places like Valley Road, then the amount of absorbable chemicals that are likely to cause cancer that will end up in those vegetables is immense. It is just as good as growing those vegetables on a sewer line. These are the practices that the farmers should be taught by a well schooled extension worker. The Ministry of Agriculture is obviously not a dumping ground. Since it is a profession just like the doctors, then you cannot allow each and everyone to come on and start teaching the farmers on the extension practices. We have seen farmers invest millions. They try to grow macadamia nuts and aloe vera in wrong places. They also try to introduce animals that ordinarily are not suited for that particular ecosystem. They try chemicals to control conditions that would have easily been controlled by other practices. We have seen farmers suffer because in SONY zone where they grow sugar cane, they went ahead with some agents to do extension services; promising them that there was going to be massive sugar cane harvesting techniques and so forth. Ultimately, there was overproduction of the cane and they were not ready. The roads were not ready and the factory was not ready to crush it. That is when the extension workers failed. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is even a bigger problem and that is why we need this policy. Some of these agents do not have their own staff, but they go on and try to induce the Ministry of Agriculture staff, making them unavailable for the assignments that they are designed to do. That way then, the set objective by the Ministry is hampered, not by the numbers, but because somebody is trying to misuse and abuse their own staff. There was a time when in the guise of know and the World Bank came up with a wonderful team; that the result was not to hire any new extension officers, particular in livestock and agriculture. There came in another bigger crazy where all agricultural colleges, including the junior training colleges, were also converted to universities, military barracks or whatever they wanted to convert them to. The result was that the quality of hands-on extension workers was affected. The sources like Embu and Egerton for the diplomas got depleted, such that if today you look at the statistics that we have in terms of those students who are undergoing training in the institutions, you will find about 200 only who are at certificate level in all the institutions. They are even less when you look at the diploma level, but there is massive training in the managerial level, that is, the degree programme. The extension practices must now be controlled by a well founded policy like the one put forward in Sessional Paper No.4 by the Ministry of Agriculture. We hope that the exercise that is going on now, which is consolidating all the laws of agriculture, this policy has been put in place so that somebody like me or any hon. Member can walk in and make a telephone call and get a quality extension worker who is available to come and carry out a particular service. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, however, I am gratified to note, as the Chairman of the Departmental Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Cooperatives, that the Ministry of Agriculture, even with these stringent measures in controlling the quality of extension workers, has gone ahead and made it possible for people and farmers to continue getting free extension services. What we are saying, basically, is that if, for instance, in Naivasha, you have a team of about ten extension workers, they will be available for a particular purpose. But if you want them to work extra time to give you consultancy, there is a guideline on how that matter will be conducted. That policy is what we have been missing from 1963. In the 1980s, there was a very aggressive move in what they called Training and Visit (T & V), where an extension worker had a route where he could go round at a particular time and meet a group of farmers. After that, we have had other systems which have been tried. All of them, somehow, have not yielded the results that were envisaged, just because of these multitude extension workers. Soon or later, we will have similar problems with the very many psychiatrists and everybody else who will do counseling. But before we reach there, we should emulate this good work by the Ministry of Agriculture, to produce a policy that now recognizes extension services as a profession by itself. This is where people will have to go and do certain things in principles which are internationally acknowledged. For instance, without turning this to be a science congress, if you do good husbandry, plough your land in good time, you want to plant maize, you have everything in place which includes fertilizer and good quality of seeds and you plant two weeks after the onset of rains, you will lose 25 per cent of anticipated production. That is such basic information which can be passed on to a farmer. The farmer may be on a safari or gone for a wedding ceremony and hence, delaying to plant for 14 days--- Although he may have had the right seeds and fertilizer, he will lose a quarter of what would be the anticipated produce. Of course, that has to go with complicated science or soil temperature, how the weeds germinate, nitrogen flash and so forth. But, ultimately, the farmer needs to be told that he or she should do dry planting just one or two days before the onset of the rains. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the other practice which you know and which is widely known is that even pests which hustles a farmer, using some of the plants that are there in the field, can be controlled using organic substances which are within the farmer’s own reach. Such products can be done cheaply and you will end up having a very good product. An example is using tobacco, some families which are from the family of cannabis, pyrethrene formulation and so on. An extension worker will be able to do that at household level. A lady who produces tomatoes this season and has not been taught how to preserve that, will still continue having a poorly fed family although they had that crop a few days ago. Technologies do exist regarding the drying of maize. The Ministry of Agriculture, from 1972 or thereabouts, has had something called “extension services”. It even has an agricultural information centre. It also has a mobile agricultural information centre and extension service. All those things are there, but the art of communicating the same to the farmer in a format that can be understood by qualified people and in an affordable manner; always trying to provide it as cheaply as it can be, is a challenge. That challenge has been addressed in this particular policy. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I urge the hon. Members not to be frightened by the feeling that at one point, everything will be very commercial. This is because even the private schools that we have today do not stop the Government from providing free primary and secondary education. But let us envisage and support this particular policy, so that the Ministry of Agriculture or the big giant that one time, in 1976, was described by one newspaper, The Nation, in an editorial that if they were to make up their mind – it was on a Sunday and the editorial was by Joe Kadhi - and mobilized all the vehicles and personnel they had, they could liberate Zimbabwe or Rhodesia at that particular time. They were so many, but could not be felt and we still had food challenges. Such issues now can be resolved by us defining what they are supposed to do through this policy statement and then, incorporating this policy statement into arguably good laws, which will come to the Floor of this House in a couple of days. In seconding this Motion, I want to acknowledge the contribution by our Departmental Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Cooperatives. While I was outside, one of the Members of the Committee, Mr. Mureithi of Ol Kalou, was ready to pass the same view. I thank him for that. The Committee’s position is that we feel that this is the way to go. This is long overdue and we congratulate the Ministry for doing the right thing by defining the policies that will show us the general direction towards this extension policy. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to second.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I wish to support this Motion for the adoption of the---
Mr. Wamalwa, just a minute. Mr. Mututho, you are the Chairman of the Committee. Now that you have seconded, you will have to ask another Member of your Committee to speak on behalf of the Committee later on.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I come from a farming community. My late father was a great farmer in the 1960s and 70s, and so was my late brother. Growing up in Trans Nzoia, the food basket of this country, I believe it is possible for this country to do something that will remove it from the list of food insecure nations of the world.
I know that this is only possible through good policies and serious policy interventions. I believe that this is one of the best policies that have come along in the agricultural sector after a long time. It is amazing that in a nation that has 80 per cent of its citizenry; 80 per cent of its population, drawing their livelihoods from agriculture, not much has been done in terms of policy development to ensure that this country becomes food secure. Just through policy, we can touch the lives of 80 per cent of our nation. In so doing, we will not only increase productivity to ensure that we achieve our national food security, but we will in the process be lifting millions out of poverty. Just looking at this policy Paper and what agriculture contributes to our economy, 24 per cent of our GDP is from this sector and 27 per cent indirectly comes from this sector. I believe that if we are able through this policy and other policies that are coming, to revamp agriculture in this country, to create linkages between the Government and the farmer, we will boost food production.
Information is power. We know that in the 1960s and the 70s, we had extension workers going out to the farmer and advising the farmer on the type of seed that is good for that particular region and the right amount and type of fertilizer to be applied. After sometime in the 1980s when we had the infamous structural adjustment programme (SAPs), this affected many of the things that had been put in place at the time. In fact, when we were trying to pull out the Government from most of these sectors, it affected agriculture. I remember cattle dips and artificial insemination. We had people going to farms and supporting farmers then, but with the SAPs, that came in place and policies that were imposed on this country from outside, farming was greatly affected. I believe that it is possible, with these kinds of policies, for us to recover ground and go out and support the farmers and advise them. There are farmers in this country who are getting as little as ten bags of maize from an acre of land, but with proper information and advice, it is possible to boost production. We have well informed farmers who through technology and access to information are producing 40 bags of maize per acre. Through extension workers reaching out to the farmers, if we can boost the production of particularly the subsistence and the small scale-farmers, we will substantially boost agricultural production. This is because the majorities are not the large-scale farmers. They are the many small-scale farmers on five or ten acres, but who, through the support of the extension workers, can boost their production en mass . Apart from this policy, I want to encourage the Ministry of Agriculture to also come up with a comprehensive national policy on national food security. I believe that such a policy is being developed, but it is time that after this, we can put such a policy in place. We have seen nations such as Malawi, just through policy shift, through leadership, transform from a food insecure nation to not just a food secure nation, but also a nation that is producing not just enough for its citizens, but enough for surplus. We know that the late Bingu wa Mutharika, God rest his soul in eternal peace, though he had difficulties towards the end of reign, when he took over power, he focused on agriculture and brought in new policies such as this one. He transformed his country. Before I joined the Front Bench, I moved a Motion in this House for the establishment of a fertilizer factory in this country. It is possible. We have one of the best seed companies on this continent, namely, the Kenya Seed Company, whose headquarters happens to be in my constituency. It provides the best seed in Africa and in the world. Our neighbours in Tanzania and Uganda are using our seed. If only we had fertilizer and we did not have to wait for those cartels that have to import fertilizer from outside and we do not have to wait for the pirates who waylay the ships and the importation of fertilizer year in, year out, is delayed, we would boost our food production. By the time the fertilizer reaches the farmer, they have been delayed in planting at the right time. This year, the top dressing fertilizer arrived very late. We expected that it should be here at the beginning of the planting season, but it was not. It was long after May that it reached us. Many farmers are frustrated. When the crop is not given fertilizer at the right time, it affects the yield. When the yield is low, the Kenyan farmer is poorer. I believe that it is possible with proper policies such as this one. It is time now that the Motion that was passed unanimously by this House is adopted and we now as a country put in place measures to ensure that we establish a fertilizer factory here. We have, in the past, talked about a fertilizer factory in this country. You remember the KenRen story right from the 1970s. As a nation, we are aware of the need of establishing a fertilizer factory in this country. Because of corruption, to date, we have not yet established a fertilizer factory. We still continue to pay for a non-existing fertilizer factory. I believe that it is not too late. When the Motion was passed in this House, feasibility studies were commenced. I am happy to note from the Minister for Agriculture that indeed, these studies are being concluded and in the near future, we will be having a fertilizer factory. If that does not happen in the Kibaki presidency, I believe that when Wamalwa becomes the President of this Republic that will be my top priority to establish a fertilizer factory to remove this nation from the list of the food insecure nations of the world. Apart from the list of corruption, this is an area that I feel very passionate about as a farmer. I want to congratulate the Minister for developing such a good policy. It is one that we need to be implemented like yesterday for the farmers out there to be given support by the Government. They should be given the necessary information on technological development and support from the Government. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise in support of the Motion. Even as we pass this Motion, there is no reason why the Ministry of Agriculture and the other concerned Ministries are not walking the talk. We are talking of a well-funded extension service with incentives such as ready markets, subsidized inputs and credit. We are looking at what is happening today. Are the grain farmers getting ready market? Are the maize, rice and other grain farmers getting ready market? We are a food insecure nation and the Government should be at the forefront in ensuring that it provides a ready market for farmers instead of year-in, year-out enriching farmers outside Kenya; buying at higher prices than they could have bought from our farmers. Before we went on recess, I remember asking a Question to the Minister for Agriculture regarding the maize of our farmers in Hola. This maize was under threat by weevils because the Ministry was not able to purchase it. Up to today, even though this question was asked in this House, the grain is still going to waste. So, it is one thing to bring us good policies and another to walk the talk. We want to see the concerned agencies moving with speed to walk the talk. We will pass this policy but if the Ministry continues as it is currently, then this policy will just be good for the shelves. We want to see a Ministry that is moving to ensure that farmers access credit. Currently, what is under “subsidized inputs” goes to farmers. Yes, fertilizer is being subsidized but who benefits from the subsidy? It is the brokers who buy it and then in turn sell it to farmers at higher prices. Sometimes the subsidized fertilizer comes too late. We want to see a Ministry, not one that is just good at putting forward policy papers but also good in acting because there is nothing, absolutely to stop the Ministry from taking interventions that are necessary even without this policy. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have noticed that the Minister is using interchangeably the words “commercialization” and “privatization”. My understanding of “commercialization” is making sure that the extension services are self-sustaining where the farmer may be called upon to make a token contribution. But “privatization” is giving over to people who want to make profits out of the extension services. This is okay for large-scale farmers. But for small-scale farmers and majority of our farmers in Kenya are small-scale farmers but whose total or accumulative output has a profound effect on the nation whether on food security or on the exports that we export daily. I think the Government still must come in to protect the small-scale farmer from the brokers and the cartels who exploit them mercilessly. One way is making sure that the relevant agencies provide these extension services even if the farmer is called upon to give a token or a very minimal contribution to sustain the service. This distinction must be made so that as we approve the policy, we are clear in our minds that we are moving to protect the small- scale farmer and that privatization can only apply to those who have the bargaining power. Today, in my area, we are one of the counties that produce the highest export for horticultural products. These are small-scale farmers. My area does not have large farms. They are very small pieces, sometimes of a quarter of an acre but the cumulative effect has a profound effect even on our foreign exchange reserves. If these farmers are protected, given the extension services which mean that seeds will be available to these farmers and good quality seeds; which mean that ready markets and credit is also organized, it means that the farmers do not have to succumb to unconscionable contracts which they are being given. This is because when you do not have seeds, you sign up a contract with anyone who comes. You are given seeds and fertilizer at a very poor price for your product and you continue being poor. Sometimes, they sign contracts with people who never come back to pay after collecting the crops. The point I am making, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, to the Minister is that our small-scale farmers still need protection. If you aggregate their yield, you will find that they can have a bargaining power. That is why our tea production in this country continues to be good although the acreage under tea, a majority of it is still under small- scale farmers. This is because there is an organized structure. There is the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA), the Kenya Tea Board and the factories. However, I must say that even tea is now affected by lack of good governance, and I am glad that this policy is capturing the issue and the need for good governance. However, we want to see good governance, not tomorrow or a later date but today. Why are the regulators not working? The Ministry of Co-operative Development and Marketing regulates the co- operatives. Why is it not working? Why are coffee farmers still suffering? That is why I am calling upon the Ministry as we say “well done for at last bringing the policy”, could you please walk the talk? How do we expect to eradicate or fight poverty if we do not protect a majority to get the fruits of their sweat? Once the small-scale farmer who is a majority of Kenyans; that is from the livestock farmer to those who grow high yield crops, subsistence or are on a commercial scale--- If their work can be protected, they can get value for their work and we will be alleviating poverty and they will at last cater for their day to day needs and the Government gets revenue. Today, the farmers work for the middleman. The brokers and cartels for all practical purposes look like the owners of the sweat, the toil of the labour of these poor farmers and the farmers look like the beggars. We have got to change this situation. Where the middlemen are necessary, let them get their dues. I remember in this very House, in the Eighth Parliament, because it was not in the Ninth, when we passed the Coffee Bill to allocate the percentage that must go to the farmer and the amount that must be shared by everybody else along the line. We may need to do this even for sugar cane. If I may take, for instance, the case of Mumias Sugar, a company that performs well year-in, year-out and we always congratulate the management, why is that high yield by that company reflected in the sugar belt and around the farmers who supply Mumias with the cane or any other area in the sugar belt? This is because even just by looking, you will notice poverty in the sugar belt. Why is the sugar belt not looking, for instance, like the small-scale tea farmers east of the Rift? That means that sugar farmers are being ripped off even by companies where they are shareholders. Who is carrying home the profits if not the sugar farmers? I am just giving these as examples of where regulation has failed, where good governance has failed and where Government support for small-scale farmers is completely lacking and even if we, on paper, talk about Vision 2030, we need to get our people out of poverty to achieve Vision 2030. One way is through agriculture and agri-business. I am in total agreement with issues surrounding value addition. It is time even in the tea sector which does relatively better than the others that we moved to value addition so that we can get better yields for our money. Even if it means going into partnerships with those who are buying and packing in Europe; if to enter their market we need partnership with them, why not so long as our farmer will get more? Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the same applies to macadamia nuts. A gazzette notice prevented our farmers from selling our macadamia nuts unprocessed. This amounted to an atrocity against the farmers because they are now being forced to sell to only two or three Kenyan companies. Those companies have become cartel-like. That gazzette notice was meant to fight off the Chinese who had come and were buying and exporting the raw nuts to China for packing. Whereas we would love to see value addition here, what makes sense to a farmer is the take home amount. It does not matter to the farmer whether the nuts are going to be packed in Kenya or in China. The farmer is counting the value they get for their sweat and Chinese were and are still paying better than the three Kenyan-owned nut companies. Why could the Ministry not leave it open to force the market forces in which case the local companies would have increased what they were offering the farmers? The Ministry must not use its regulatory powers to oppress the local farmer and help cartels. It must balance the interest of this country doing value addition and the interest of the farmer reaping the maximum benefit. Why for instance have we not stopped tea farmers from exporting tea before value addition yet we stopped the macadamia nut farmers? Our Constitution does not allow discrimination. As we pass this policy I am asking the Ministry to make sure that any discriminatory practices are completely erradicated and the Ministry must find a way of incentivising the practice they want the farmers to adopt. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to end by saying that to date there are very many farmers who have made deliveries to certain extension service providers. These are people who are providing the seeds, the fertilizer or the pesticides and then the ready market. But they never deliver the money. Whereas they will say that they have not been paid, they have actually been paid. They are doing well; you can see them expanding and the farmers are languishing in poverty. Their children have been sent away from school. The Ministry must think of how to handle these situations. Once we pass this policy, I can see the need for legislation to take care of these concerns that we are raising today so that our farmers can be helped. Even now, before any laws are passed the Ministry still has muscle to intervene and help the farmers and these are things we would want the Minister to see where she sees her intervention coming. Recently, we were trying to bring amendments to the Sugar Act during the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill. The Ministry opposed saying they were bringing comprehensive amendments to the Sugar Act. Parliament resumed yesterday and I have not seen any such Bill. All the farmers wanted were the judgments of the Sugar Tribunal to become enforceable as judgments of the court, like with other tribunals. The sugar farmers and sugar unions have judgments against the sugar companies which they cannot do anything about. These judgments relate to the monies of thousands of farmers. So, could the Ministry pull up its socks? Now that we are about to approve this policy, could we have the relevant Bills which will make the good things that this policy has in store for farmers a reality? With those very many words, I beg to support.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I also stand to give my support to this Motion and thank the Ministry that it in fact has been long overdue. We have been independent for 50 years. When we were young people during the colonial times extension officers were a common fixture in the villages. Farmers would not do anything without consulting an extension officer; whether you were growing maize or potatoes. During those times a person like me was educated because my father was able to listen to the extension officer and be able to farm productively. I am not sure where the rain started beating us. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, our economy largely depends on agriculture. Agriculture is the kingpin of this country. Eighty per cent of our population depends on agriculture. Therefore, to ensure that our agriculture grows, to ensure that we start producing efficiently in whatever we are producing from our soil, it is important to ensure that there is policy in place of ensuring that that there are extension officers to assist the farmers. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the former speaker has just talked about value addition. It is important that if we want to push up this agricultural growth the issue of value addition is crucial. But value addition within our own country will become even more important if the farmers are producing enough produce to be turned into other products. To be able to do that we need to be able to produce for consumption and have surplus. Today due to lack of knowledge, poor husbandry and sometimes lack of fertilizers as it has been enumerated, the farmer ends up producing that which he can consume but nothing that he can use for value addition. So, efficiency through extension services will make sure that we produce enough for value addition. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the question of the private extension officers has been raised. Many times commercial farmers will come out and tell farmers, “grow this kind of crop or do this” without any consideration to the environment. If there are people who are talking about having poles for electricity, instead they will tell you to grow eucalyptus trees because they are interested in harvesting these trees to be able to sell to Kenya Power Company. But they do not think about what the eucalyptus trees will do to the environment, the water tables and so on and so forth. Within this policy we would like to make sure that these private extension commercial groups do not hurt our environment and also do not exploit the farmers. There was a case I saw in Bungoma where they came and asked farmers to grow French beans. People changed from growing sugar-cane and maize and rushed into growing French beans. In the end these characters disappeared from the district and farmers did not know where to sell the beans. So, we want the Government to be able to look into such groups that are likely to exploit farmers. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, coffee farming in the part of the world where I come from is becoming extremely important. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, as people in Central Province convert their coffee farms into real estate, we, in Bungoma, are turning to coffee growing. Kenya was known as a country that grew a lot of coffee. I am, however, afraid that there is no support or encouragement from the Ministry. So, the people are on their own. So, as we talk about this policy, I would like us to ask the Ministry to actually start looking at this country and identifying regions in terms of the kinds of crops they can produce. If coffee is now the in-thing for Bungoma County, the Ministry should put emphasis on the same. Coffee is still an important crop for the economy of this country. It is still our black gold. Last year, coffee prices were extremely high on the world market but Kenya did not benefit much because many people in the coffee growing areas have turned their land into real estate. So, the Ministry should know which areas can produce what. In Bungoma, we can also grow a lot of cotton. We are looking for support and knowledge on what we should do. We now talk of reviving our ginneries, so on and so forth. We can revive the ginneries but if there is no cotton being grown, we will not be industrialising those areas at all. We need the Ministry to look into all these things, including dairy farming, and support the farmer to make sure that we move forward. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this debate. First, I want to appreciate the Cabinet sub-committee that developed this policy. In this policy, they have rightly said that the agricultural sector provides livelihood for about 80 per cent of the Kenyan population. This is a fact that is known. It is a fact we must struggle with as we develop our policy, and as we grow food for our people. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, with the onset of global warming, leading to desertification that is almost covering our country, the policy must address the new challenges that are emerging, which are going to cause food insecurity in this country. Due to the seeds that were planted in my region, the area from Trans Mara all the way to Bomet; farmers are not going to have anything more than a quarter of the yield that they expected this year. So, what is going to happen is that our region, which has been a net supplier of maize for the last ten years, is going to require food relief to be provided by the Government because they are not going to harvest much maize. In the area around Kirndon, where a lot of maize is usually grown, people are already asking to be supplied with relief food. So, in the next few years, we will get into a very serious problem, if the policy does not address the real issues and show ways of tackling those problems. It is good to develop a policy like this one, but what about the ways by which we can address these problems? Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we are yet to be told the problem of the seeds that we planted this season. The maize just did not grow. The Ministry must come out clearly on this issue. I do not think fertilizers caused a lot of problems because many farmers do not use fertilizers. The problem could be with the seeds. What is the Ministry doing to ensure that the seeds that farmers buy are certified, or the vendors who sell seeds are classified and certified that they actually sell the right seeds? We believe that there is something fishy. We are talking about players in the private sector taking advantage of our people. They could pack the wrong seeds or even bring in Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) seeds. We do not know whether they sold GMO seeds to farmers. I understand that when you harvest GMO maize, you have to buy certified seeds to be able to grown food again. So, it is a very serious matter. I would like the Ministry to prepare to provide food to people in the South Rift region next year because there will be no food for them. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we are now moving from the East Rift region, which has had a problem for the last few years, to the South Rift and North Rift regions, which have been the bread basket for this country. These areas are now going to suffer a similar fate. Where is the Government going to get money from, knowing that 80 per cent of our population depends on agriculture? Therefore, it means that the Government must plan to provide enough money, in the next Budget, for net importation of food into the country. I am not predicting doom for this country but I can see this coming, given what has happened in my own constituency. Let me now talk about agricultural extension services. Hardly do agricultural extension officers from the Ministry, or from within the agricultural sector, actually go to the field to advise farmers on the quality of fertilizers. Training of farmers before the planting season starts does not take place. Farmers just plant in the way they have always known traditionally yet we know that with application of proper scientific agricultural techniques, we can triple the yield and have enough food. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, as a nation, we have the problem of subdividing land so much that the agricultural land that was available in the last few years has all been chopped into small holdings. Everybody now lives on a two-and-a-half acre plot. We are even encouraging this bad practice by settling our Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) on two-and-a-half acre plots. So, we are going to be a net subsistence farming nation. So, what should the policy address? It should address the issue of irrigation to open up lands in the north eastern and northern regions of this country, which are very fertile and which are still open. We should now move in that direction because we cannot turn back the clock and tell people to move out of the pieces of land they have settled. Kenyans love land and title deeds. So, it is a problem. So, let us move out of our traditional farming areas into new lands, so that we can grow food through irrigation. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is research going on in Mwea – I am happy this is taking place – where rice is actually being grown through drip irrigation. The yields being realised from this type of irrigation are even better than the yields that have been realised from flood irrigation. This means we will not need a lot of water to grown rice or any other food produce, if we use scientific methods. We have enough scientists in this country, who can do research. So, could the Ministry allocate substantial amounts of money for research, so that Kenyans who are able to carry out research, be they universities or individuals within the private sector, can apply for the money and undertake research, which will help the whole country. We will have problems, if we do not use new methods of farming to grow food. We have been talking about subsidised inputs before. This should continue because a lot of farmers, like those in my own region, lost all their crops. It means that if we do not subsidise the agricultural inputs, they will not grow any food in the next planting season. So, what is the Ministry doing to ensure that all the farmers who lost their maize crop due to the bad seeds that were sold to them, or due to drought, are given subsidised seeds and fertilizers, so that in the next planting season, which starts in September, they can plant? This period seems to be best for growing maize and other food crops in this country. So, we should be prepared.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I earnestly urge the Minister to take this very seriously to be able to provide the right seeds and fertilisers on time, so that by the end of August there will be enough for people to plant again, and they get crops before the end of year.
On the issue of credit, I would like to thank the Ministry of Agriculture, especially for the extension service through the Kenya Sugar Board (KSB) to farmers in my constituency; they are now growing sugar-cane. Indeed, I have no problem because we have learnt to grow sugar-cane and the yield is very good. The soil is right. The climate and the temperature are good; when you look at the yield for example per hectare, while in most of the country you do not get more than 100 tonnes per hectare, we are getting over 200 tonnes per hectare. This is because the land is very virgin, the soils are right, the temperatures and other climatic conditions are suitable for that. So, everybody wants to grow sugar-cane. What is going to happen is that we are not going to have any maize in the next year, because a lot of people are going to put all their land to growing sugar- cane.
I would urge the Ministry to train farmers given that they are going into new commercial farming like the growing of sugar-cane; they need to be educated in terms of how to plan the land use. They should be shown how to put so much land under sugar- cane, maize and cattle; they usually seem to depend on cattle throughout. The Government used to do it.
I also want to thank Equity Bank because it is trying to educate the farmers on how not to misuse their money because they get a lot of money out of what they get per hectare. So, Equity Bank is trying to educate the farmers on how to plough back the money and how to use it properly. The Government should play its active role to ensure that land use planning and growing of food commodities is done properly and then farmers are guided accordingly.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, Kiambu is turning into a concrete jungle, yet it has the best agricultural land in this country. The farmers there are selling their land to people to build houses. Why should the Government allow that? I am not saying they should not sell land, but this should be regulated, so that land in Kiambu and other places is used only for recreation purposes. Somebody can move to some other part of the country and put up his estate or high rise buildings, if he wants to do that; agricultural land that is most productive should not be turned into concrete. I think there is lack of policy by the Government to ensure that we protect the land on which we can grow food for the future. This is exactly what is happening now in the southern part of Kenya, where land is subdivided into small holdings and then it is converted into other uses which have no policy, but which the Government should protect through policy.
I also wish to mention that I do not know whether the policy here addresses the issue of value addition, because we have a lot of perishable goods in this country. When you go to Nyandarua, for example, there was a time when they had a lot of vegetables and other foods. When you go to the Mau, they have a lot of potatoes but what happens? Once they flood the market, they go to waste. The farmers cannot sell them because they cannot get enough money to grow the same food the following year. Why can the policy not ensure that the private sector addresses the issue of value addition? People should be able to uptake all the excess produced and be able to convert it into non-perishable commodities; when there are no commodities in the market, the converted commodities can be put on the market and people can buy and consume them. Anywhere in the world, everything is about value addition. That is happening in most supermarkets in the world. So, this is one issue that we must address; when there is too much flooding of sukumawiki or spinach, and the poor farmer who depends on them cannot earn a living, and even a normal worker in the city or somebody who depends on salary--- We must address not just the famine problem but also the problem of people who work in towns and who depend on agriculture to survive.
With those few remarks, I wish to support the policy and ask the Minister to, please, do what she says. Thank you.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am speaking on behalf of the Departmental Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Cooperatives; I also want to say that I am a professional in this field and, therefore, it excites me to have this policy paper coming at this time. I served in the Ministry of Agriculture for 17 years, rising to the position of Provincial Director of Agriculture. So, I understand a little bit about what this policy is talking about.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it has been a major problem this country has been perpetually a food deficit country, yet we have the best climate and soils. When you look at the soils in the dry areas like Kitui and other areas, you will find that with a minimal amount of water, as you have seen in places like Bura, food production will be very high. When Bura was being started I was there and the amount of food that was produced at that time was quite astronomical.
Also recently when we decided to increase the food production in this country we went to Bura and His Excellency went and commissioned that project, but the Ministry’s activities have been a bit disjointed. On one hand they promote production but on the other hand marketing is left to somebody else. Therefore, the many tonnes of maize that was grown in Bura went to waste and created aflatoxin which really affected a lot of children. Therefore, this policy will create an institutional arrangement where we are going to have a framework that is going to direct extension workers in the right direction. I would like to say that as far as we are concerned, this Ministry seems to have lost its glory because these days we do not see extension officers in the field. What has happened is that quite a lot of other people have come up and they are offering extension services completely contrary to what the Ministry does; they tell farmers to grow a certain commodity and they do not buy that commodity. We have a case in Meru where people were told to grow soya beans and other beans and finally the buyers shifted from Meru. They came to Rumuruti and Nyandarua. Once they con a group of these people they shift to other places. This has been because according to the Maputo Declaration the Ministry of Agriculture was expected to be funded up to the tune of 10 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This country has never gone beyond four per cent. As a result, countries like Mozambique are exporting to Kenya maize, which we should be having. It is unfortunate because for some time there was a freeze on recruitment of extension officers. So, we do not have enough people to go round and advise farmers the way we used to do in my time. As a result this country continues to import maize. Maize is one commodity that is most popular. We have potatoes which are the second most consumed crop in this country. We do not have cold rooms. We have one cold room in Molo which is in total disrepair. We had passed on this Floor that cold rooms should be built in North Rift, Central Rift, Nyandarua and in Meru. I also ask the Minister to go and follow up the Motion that was brought here by hon Kaino. I seconded that Motion. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, when potatoes are harvested they are supposed to be kept in cold rooms and farmers are able to sell them when prices are high. What is happening now is that the brokers are buying potatoes in huge sacks of 270 kilogrammes against the Gazette Notice that was produced by the Ministry of Agriculture and another Gazette Notice by the Minister for Local Government that said one gunny bag should be of 110 kilogrammes. Farmers, particularly in Nyandarua, where we are producing most potatoes, are getting exploited. As a result the returns to the farmer at farm gate are zero, yet you come to Nairobi and there are no potatoes. The middlemen have been enriched; no wonder we have many incidents of young people committing suicide. This happens even in my area where people grow a lot of potatoes and they are not able to take their children to school. I think these two Gazette Notices should be activated so that nobody should is allowed--- The Provincial Administration, Ministry of Local Government and the Ministry of Agriculture should be in a position to supervise that kind of approach. If it is impossible let the Ministry of Agriculture continue with what they have said in their policy paper, that they are going to increase the value addition. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, as soon as we get that value addition, potatoes will not need to leave my constituency. They will not need to leave Meru. We shall now start processing them the way they do in Egypt and sell the final product. Right now we are buying potatoes from Egypt, yet this country is a potatoes growing country. They are selling to Kentucky Chicken here just because we do not have proper methods of marketing them or marketing chains in this country. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is some issue that has been brought up by the Ministry. I would like at this time to make a proposal. There is the issue of privatization and commercialization; it is very good to do that but I would like to say that the extension service should not be done away with. We must make sure that extension services are there to make sure that farmers are not exploited. What will happen is that farmers will continue growing potatoes but somebody else will be making money. I would like the Minister to listen to this; the unfortunate thing is that the extension officers in my constituency are given motor bikes. We have problems with Land Rovers as they get stuck in the mud; so, you do not expect any extension officer to go on a motor bike on a road on which he will probably fall over. As a result I think the Ministry should now reconsider having these Land Rovers, so that when they go to supervise these commercial farms and private owners they will have the capacity which they do not have right now. I do not want to blame the extension service officers. We have no facilities. You go and get money as travelling allowance--- One District Agricultural Officer (DAO) is given about Kshs260,000 a year and he has all these people. if you work out on a daily basis this is less than Kshs10,000 a day. I think it is necessary that the Ministry of Agriculture co- ordinates the extension services so that this country can be a net exporter rather than a net importer of potatoes. Right now foreigners are coming to invest here; Minister, why are they investing here? They want to invest here and export their produce to their own countries. Why should we not do it ourselves? When we allow that, we export labour and we need labour here ourselves. That is why I see that this Paper has come at the right time; unless we restructure our extension services in this country, we will continue mourning. Do not forget there are cartels in the cereal industry, sugar industry, macadamia nuts industry and in almost all the lucrative commodities markets. These people will not allow the Ministry of Agriculture to reorganize itself, so that we can produce enough. I would like to say that the Ministry has done well and we support it. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, what should happen is that the public sector should not be done away with. I think they should look at what Mozambique has done. They call themselves a poor country but they are exporting maize to us. Egypt is more advanced than us; they are exporting potatoes to us. Look at South Africa; they are growing them on water pans like the ones in the whole of the white highlands. Why can we not do that? You have never heard Zimbabwe get food aid because they use water pans and dams. You go to Namibia; they use water pans in the Kalahari Desert. Why can Kenya not rehabilitate its dams? Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, what is of concern to me is that we talk of irrigation and food production, when these are in two different Ministries. One creates water and the other food. If you combine the two they create synergy in terms of food production. As a result, we have a problem and I would like to propose that this Paper must be completely re-looked at so that these institutional arrangements can create value. We should also zone areas as is done in Ethiopia. In Ethiopia you cannot grow flowers wherever you want. You cannot grow a certain commodity wherever you want. They have zoned their country. I went there in 2009 and the reason they have zoned their country is because they distribute labour force in the whole of Ethiopia. Kenya over- concentrates on areas without zoning the country. We must zone it and we know the Ministry of Agriculture has done a very good map in terms of land value. That should be used to rezone so that as soon we reach a certain carrying capacity of a certain commodity we do not allow any more investment in that area. We take resources to another zone. You will find that if you go to some areas they are over-exploited; sometimes water is not available just because we do not zone. I would like to add that zoning must be done. These institutions must be functional and the mechanism to strengthen them must be instituted. Once we do that we will be sure that Vision 2030 will be achieved. With those remarks, I support.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to support this Policy. First and foremost I want to thank the Ministry and other collaborating Ministries, particularly the Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry of Cooperative Development and Marketing and Ministry of Livestock Development. For the first time in the history of this country, we will come up with one co- ordinated policy on extension. This is very crucial because this policy addresses the issue of food security for this country. It is very logical that all the Ministries or all the sectors involved in the production of food in this country should work together as a team in a concerted effort to ensure that this country is food sufficient, and is able to even export food. As my colleagues have said, this country has a lot of potential for agricultural production. Its people are very hard working. They are willing to work but the problem is that they lack co-ordination and direction in terms of how they should manage agricultural activities. As my colleagues have said, one of the key problems that this sector has faced is lack of extension services for a long time.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, there was a time when extension services were so good and elaborate such that each farmer would be visited by an extension officer and get technical advice at the farm level. However, somehow, the policy changed during the Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) where the Government through the World Bank was forced to come up with the idea of demand-driven policies where the World Bank advised the Ministry that unless farmers ask for extension workers, then the Ministry had no obligation to provide them. For that reason, from the time the extension workers were withdrawn and recruitment of such workers curtailed, this country went into a deathbed in terms of food production. Since that time, the early 1990s, we have never recovered and until and unless we ensure that we have extension workers, we are not going to be food sufficient in this country and we shall continue importing. The tragedy is that when it comes to importation, we use billions of shillings to import food but the amount we require to employ extension workers is only a small fraction of what we use when it comes to importation of food. So it is important that this country must realize that the first priority is to feed its own people. That should be the first priority! Before we talk of anything else, this country must decide that we must feed our own people and we should not, year in, year out, go out begging for food from the World Food Programme (WFP). In fact, the WFP has made its home in Kenya here because they are there to give food aid throughout. So we need the Government to put more effort and more money to agricultural extension.
If you go to other countries, be it in Asia or Europe, farmers are subsidized. I have stayed in the Netherlands for many years and the Government of the Netherlands subsidizes its farmers and they are given credit but in this country you will find that farm inputs are very expensive. Even when the Government comes in and says they are going to import farm inputs at a subsidized rate and give them to farmers, in the actual sense, when the farm inputs come here, particularly fertilizers, it is only the business people who eventually acquire those farm inputs and sell to our farmers at very exorbitant prices. So in essence, the Government actually subsidizes merchants, businessmen and businesswomen, who make colossal amounts of profits and farmers live in abject poverty.
As regards the extension officers, it is important that the Ministry must re-train them because most of these officers who are there have not been doing their work. Most of the time, they have been sitting in their offices and so they need to be re-trained. It is important that as the Ministry comes up with this policy, it must re-train its extension officers because in many cases, most farmers are even more knowledgeable than the extension officers. This is because some of the extension officers who come directly from the universities have never had any practical experience. They just come straightaway from theoretical backgrounds and go out there to advise farmers. So you find that farmers do not even find value in going for extension officers because they feel they are better placed than the extension officers. So we need extension officers who are experienced in certain areas. That is one area that we need to re-focus on.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, as regards marketing, it is very important. Many a times our farmers are made to produce various crops through probably marketing by private agencies but when it comes to marketing of the products, sometimes the farmers are stuck with their products. In the long run farmers are discouraged and, therefore, they abandon the growing of those crops. I know there are very many private companies like even in western Kenya there is one that came to my constituency and we popularized the growing of capsicum – pilipili. I personally went out of the way to popularize that but after we grew the capsicum, the company was nowhere to be found and so I had problems with farmers telling me to buy their pilipili because I was the one who took that company to them but it was no longer anywhere to be found. So we need to be sure that as we encourage farmers to grow various crops, we have ready markets and this is where we go for value addition. Many of my colleagues have talked about value addition and I do not want to over-emphasize that issue. So I believe that value addition is extremely important.
One area where most of my colleagues have not talked about is aquiculture, fish farming. This is a very important and lucrative business and I want to thank the Ministry of Fisheries Development for the efforts they have made in the last four years to popularize aquiculture production in this country. This is one sector that can generate a lot of income for our farmers and provide protein for them. So this is an area where we need more extension officers. Currently, we have very few extension officers on fish farming and I think this is an area we need to look into. Equally on livestock production, this is an area that is very important and you can generate a lot of income but the problem is, again, marketing. So in a nutshell, marketing is a major component in this area that as we implement this policy, it must be the driving force otherwise we will make our farmers produce and get stuck with their produce.
The co-operative movements have been mismanaged particularly those dealing with agricultural produce and it is important that the Ministry works very closely with the Ministry of Co-operative Development and Marketing to revamp the co-operative societies and put in new management structures to ensure that the co-operative movement functions very well for the benefit of farmers.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the issue of organic farming is very important. We need to continue promoting organic farming because it is an area which is growing and we have a lot of interest in, particularly when it comes to the exports market. Most of the export markets need crops grown under organic environments and this is extremely important in terms of environmental conservation. So this is an area, again, where we need specialist extension officers in organic farming.
Finally, Kenya is notorious for producing some of the best policies in the world but when it comes to implementation, we do not do it. This is a great policy; I have gone through it and I can tell it is good as it covers everything but the problem is: Are we able to implement it or after we pass this policy that will be the end? So we ask the Minister, after we pass this policy, to come up with a Bill that will operationalise it so that it can be implemented.
With those many remarks, I beg to support.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this very important policy paper. Let me start by thanking the Assistant Minister who has done so well in the presentation of this critical paper. This is a very important policy paper because it is going to address some of the critical issues that have continued to plague this nation. The issue of joblessness and insecurity would have been addressed and contained many years ago if extension management services were applied keenly in this country. Of great concern here is to empower the farmer the way farmers have been empowered in Israel, Brazil, Argentina and in other countries. If we empower farmers in this country by making sure that fertilizer is availed in good time, and not fake fertilizer, they can produce enough for this country.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, quality seeds must also be availed in good time. It is most important in our times to think about establishing our own fertilizer factory. It is important that the Government sets aside adequate funds to make sure that this fertilizer factory in this country is started. This country should be food sufficient because the potential is high. People should be able to feed themselves. The aged in this country should not be dying of hunger. We have seen the vulnerable groups in this country, particularly in the slums, perishing. But if we had this policy implemented, the issue of people dying of hunger would not be there.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we should encourage farming in our schools. Our primary and secondary schools, and even universities have idle land and it is important that the administrations of these institutions are encouraged to start farming. They can start keeping livestock and even maize production in these units. We have seen cases where some schools are able to produce enough milk for consumption in the schools and even for sale. Some schools have even already put up milling machines, so that they are able to produce enough maize flour for their students’ consumption. This will allow cheaper products to reach the urban areas, where the huge population will be able to consume these products. More jobs will be created through extension services. The agricultural sector can also play a critical role if adequate attention is paid by the Ministry. Rabbits, bees, fish and even pigs will also create the necessary environment. A lot of jobs will be created for our youth who are currently unemployed. That is why our youth are indulging themselves in alcoholism because there are no jobs for them. But if we are able to create a lot of jobs for these youth, the country will be secure.
But, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the pyrethrum sector has been ignored for the last 30 years. It is high time this sector is revived and Kenya continues to enjoy its leading pyrethrum exporter role in the whole world. We have continued to ignore this sector at the detriment of our country.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, tea has also taken another step, whereby tea hawking has become a reality in tea producing areas like Kiambu County, Limuru and the Lari-Githunguri areas. The sector has become insecure because tea is being picked in the night. Therefore, it is very encouraging if the whole nation becomes self sufficient in all these sectors.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, why do we continue importing rice from Egypt, Sudan and Brazil whereas our people in the Kirinyaga area and even from other potential areas in this country can produce adequate quantities for export? The markets for these products are ready. We can export our products to Somalia, Ethiopia and other East African countries. We should be able to encourage irrigation schemes in this country, particularly in the semi-arid areas. More funds must be set aside for these activities. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, a lot of land in this country is idle. This must be allowed to go to the private investors who can contribute in terms of creating the necessary productivity and employment for our youth. The Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) has continued to play a critical role. It would be prudent if the AFC can also branch off to the 47 counties and more funds are released to these branches at a lower interest rate. This way, the farmers will be able to borrow and invest in agricultural production. This is the only way that we can reduce poverty in this country. We cannot talk of Vision 2030 and a great nation if the whole country cannot embrace the GMO technology, so that we can really revolutionalize agriculture in this country. It is also critical because this policy will allow the improvement on our Strategic Grain Reserve. Time and again, we talk about 2.5 million bags of maize. This will facilitate increased capacity to almost 10 million bags in our Strategic Grain Reserve. I think it is high time that these services are implemented to the letter for the good of this country. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, with those few remarks, I support.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to support this Sessional Paper concerning the issue of extension services on agriculture. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the extension services cannot really succeed if certain systems have not been put in place. We are an agriculturally-based economy and we need to put in more funding towards agriculture. We know that there was a time when the Ministry of Agriculture was not even able to employ extension officers to work with the farmers at the grassroots level. This Paper has just come at the right time so that we can enhance the services offered by the Ministry of Agriculture. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the extension workers who have not been employed for a while need to be employed so that they can reach out to the farmers, explain, teach and show them practically what they ought to do for them to improve on the yields. Most farmers have been sweating a lot but yielding very little, because they have been using traditional farming methods. We have not been able to embrace the new methods of farming. However, it is not enough to just have extension workers without making sure that the farmers are able to work and maximize on their small shambas and realize the fruits of their sweat. Our Ministry of Agriculture is badly underfunded. If we give a budgetary allocation to the Ministry in terms of about 10 per cent of the Budget in this financial year or whatever financial year, certainly the agricultural methods will be enhanced and certainly the Ministry will be able to employ enough workers. At the same time, even our universities have really reduced the number of vacancies for training agricultural officers. This is not right considering the fact that we are in a country that depends on the agricultural economy.
Irrigation is very important. We cannot depend on rain-fed agriculture and expect to maximize on production. It is important for us to make sure that in future, as we go into 22 Ministries, we should pair up irrigation and agriculture because they go hand in hand. If it is done that way, then proper planning can be done and irrigation can be embraced by the farmers, so that they can get their produce throughout the year. They do not have to wait for certain seasons where there is rainfall. Of late, because of the climatic changes, rainfall has sometimes let people down even for several years. You find that drought is hitting us and the rainy seasons have become shorter. Even when it rains, it floods and destroys even the crop that was growing. We need extension services, but the extension workers must be given extension inputs in terms of the farmers being able to produce throughout the year.
Assistant Minister, I do not see any one else wanting to speak. So, you may reply.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have supported this Policy Paper. I want to assure them that I have noted their concerns and I will take them forward, so that they can be incorporated. Even when we bring the Bill, I ask them to also take part and bring out these issues. As many Members have said there was a time, about 20 years ago, when the Ministry could not even employ an extension officer. Some of them retired and others left. This is because of the SAPs policies which were introduced by the World Bank. Everybody realizes that our production then was better than it is today. We require these people back, so that they can teach our farmers. Another item which has been emphasized by the Members is funding. I do not see how the Ministry of Agriculture will do what it is supposed to do with 3 per cent of the Budget. It cannot. It will be impossible to even pay the extension officers that we require. It will be impossible to even do research and provide some of these inputs like certified seeds and fertilizer. In fact, we are now relying on the greater part on donors’ funds. We need to increase the Government allocation to the Ministry of Agriculture. Some Members have also brought up the issue of marketing. We need to organize our farmers the way coffee farmers have been organized. We need to organize our farmers either in maize or cotton farming, so that they can have a voice and they can be heard. But if they are going to be left to talk individually, this will not work. The other issue which is very crucial is financing; credit. This is a major issue because it is only the AFC which provides funding. You find that sometimes what they have is not enough. Until just recently when Equity was brought on board by the Ministry giving some guarantees to the bank and they decided to finance cereals, there was only the AFC. We need to allocate more money to the AFC, so that our farmers can benefit. I totally agree with the Members when they say that we need to have AFC branches in each county, so that our farmers can access credit. I also want to turn to the farmers themselves. They need to listen to the few extension officers that we have. They do not listen to them. If you go to an area like Makueni County where the rain is very little and tell the farmers not to plant maize and to plant something like green grams or cowpeas, they do not listen because they have been in the habit of maize and beans. This has stuck with them. We need to move away from this kind of farming and get into business farming where you eat what you can eat and sell what you can sell. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I also want to assure these hon. Members that the fertilizer for planting in September this year will be distributed to all the national cereals depots for farmers to buy by next week. So, the fertilizer is here and you do not need to panic with regard to that. There was an issue on the South Rift where maize was affected by a certain disease. I thank the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) for coming up with a seed or crop which is resistant to this type of disease. This will be availed to the farmers so that they can plant it when the time comes. I want to say that I have learnt. We will take this and I assure you that when we bring the Bill here, you will see quite a number of these issues which you have raised. The Sessional Paper is not cast in stone but it is something which we are bringing to allow us to bring the Bill so that we can deal with these issues. However, I want to assure hon. Members that this is the way to go. We need to empower our farmers by giving them well trained extension officers who know what is supposed to be planted, where and at what time. We also want our farmers not to sit in their homes and wait for the extension officers to go round looking for them. If you want something to be done, go and get them. If they do not come, let us know so that we can take action against them. On the issue of potatoes, there was a Question this morning although it was deferred on the weight of the packaged potatoes. The Government is working on this. We had a stakeholders meeting sometime in May or June and we agreed that the police will now make sure that this weight is being followed. I would like to take this opportunity to tell the farmers not to over pack potatoes to either 200 or 180 kilogrammes. Just pack it into110 kilogrammes and take it to the market. This is because what happens when you bring it to Nairobi when it is packed in 200 kilogrammes bag, it is reduced, shared and another bag is created and those concerned end up making more. The other issue we need to address, not only the Ministry of Agriculture but hon. Members and farmers is that of middlemen who really make a kill while the farmer goes without making anything that is substantial and yet he is the one who has done the work, put in the inputs, done the ploughing, done weeding and even the spraying. The other guy comes and takes up everything. All of us need to stand up and advise our farmers not to listen to these people so that we can move forward. On the issue of the Sugar (Amendment) Bill, that will come to this House. It is ready and we will bring it. The Ministry of Agriculture will also bring all the Bills. We have consolidated the 100 plus Acts into four Acts and we will bring them to the House for you to look at them and improve them. With those few remarks, I would like to say once more, thank you for your contribution.
Hon. Members, with regard to the business on Order No. 10 the Mover of that Motion who is also a Member of the Speaker’s Panel is deputizing for the Speaker at another parliamentary function and he has requested that this matter be deferred.
Likewise, regarding business on Order No.11 and Order No.12, I have also been informed by hon. Members that they would prefer to debate the Report on KPCU before this comes and they have sought that these two Orders also be deferred. So, Order Nos. 10, 11, 12 and 13 are all deferred and they will be re-listed on the Order Paper in accordance with directions from the House Business Committee.
Hon. Members, that therefore, brings us to the close of today’s business. The House, therefore, stands adjourned until tomorrow Thursday, 2nd August, 2012, at 2.30 p.m.
The House rose at 6.22 p.m.