Church asks tobacco farmers in South Nyanza to abandon the crop

A Church leader in Migori has pleaded with tobacco farmers in South Nyanza to drop tobacco farming accusing to activity of causing poverty in the region due to frequent delayed payment.

Bishop Joseph Ouya of Calvary Church, Rombe claimed tobacco was responsible for the trap of abject poverty and the state of hopelessness the residents found themselves in.

In a statement to the press on Wednesday, Bishop Ouya told the over 20,000 tobacco growers from Suna West, Suna East, Uriri, Kuria West, Kuria East and Rangwe Sub Counties to grow alternative crops like sugarcane, soya beans or maize which were better paying and less labour intensive.

He said it was sad that some companies had not paid the suffering farmers for their leaf delivered in the last two years.

My church is going to mount a serious campaign in South Nyanza to sensitise the farmers on the risks of tobacco farming. We cannot sit back and allow the exploitation of our people to continue, asserted Ouya.

The latest move by the church is likely to cause a serious conflict between the major players in the sugar and tobacco sub-sectors.

Lifestyle of the farmers in the region usually change when they start receiving payments from tobacco and sugarcane with some marrying additional wives and others camping in bars and hotels for several days to make merry.

Commercial sex workers from as far as Kisumu, Kericho, Nakuru and Tanzania also visit the region during the pay period targeting the sweet cash earned by the farmers.

Source: Kenya News Agency