Cane farmers hail Bett’s nomination as Agriculture Cabinet secretary

By: ELISHA OTIENO

Sugarcane farmers in western Kenya are looking up to the new Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett to turn around the dwindling fortunes of the sugar industry.

The farmers, who have welcomed the nomination of Mr Bett as the new Agriculture CS, said he has the relevant experience to drive the ministry, having been the chief executive of Kenya Seed Company.

Mr Ezra Okoth of the Kenya Federation of Sugarcane Farmers, however, told Mr Bett that the Agriculture docket “is usually never a walk in the park”.

“If his name is approved by Parliament, turning around the troubled sugar industry will be his first responsibility and to guide the privatisation process of millers in a manner that does not leave out farmers’ interests,” he said.

Mr Okoth said that Kilimo House – the ministry’s headquarters in Nairobi – was a very sensitive area that should not be allowed to operate without a substantive minister for long, the way it did during the absence of the former minister Felix Koskei.

“But now we support Mr Bett to deliver on his new mandate. As farmers, we will give him time to prove his worth,” stated the unionist on Wednesday.

In Nyamira, United Democratic Party acting director of elections Justus Rasugu, however, faulted President Kenyatta’s new cabinet saying he simply rewarded communities that supported the Jubilee administration.

He claimed the appointments did not represent the face of the country as most of those given jobs were from two communities.

“Some communities did not get any slot in the cabinet because of reasons better known by the President,” Mr Rasugu said.

He, however, thanked the President for appointing Mr Fred Matiang’i and Ms Susan Mochache as Education CS and Social Security and Services PS respectively.

“The reshuffle was timely and we hope the new team will assist the President to fight corruption and improve the country’s economy,” he said.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION