The agriculture committee of Murang’a County Assembly has recommended the withdrawal of the contentious Murang’a County Avocado Production and Processing Bill 2020. The committee after deliberations has also recommended for the bill to be returned for redrafting, to enable it to capture views of all players in the value chain. They were evaluating public views on the bill.
Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria has been at loggerheads with some Members of Parliament, Senator Irungu Kang’ata, some MCAs, Avocado Society of Kenya and avocado farmers from Kandara and Gatanga constituencies where the bulk of avocados come from. The Committee chairperson Charles Kahoro who is also the MCA for Kangari Ward noted that two constituencies didn’t conduct public participation exercises.
The bill as it is now gives the county massive powers to control avocado production right from nurseries to processing. Anybody who intends to establish an avocado tree nursery will need to register with the county government. The same will apply to traders and processors who want to trade with avocados in Murang’a County. A farmer who wants to cut down his avocado tree will also be required to obtain a tree felling permit from the county government. A dealer or manufacturer of avocado produce in the county will also be required file returns to the county government annually.
The bill also requires avocados in Murang’a County to be transported packed in crates and the vehicles used should be refrigerated. Anybody who contravenes any provision of the proposed bill will be fined up to Kshs. 500,000 (half a million) or jailed up to two years or both.