Irrigation Act to enable rice farmers own land

Irrigation Act is set to undergo major overhaul to enable Mwea rice farmers, who have lived as tenants since 1956, acquire title deeds.

The Act outlaws farmers from keeping livestock in their 70A�60 concentrated village plots or allowing their children settling on such premises.

Kirinyaga Senator, Charles Kibiru has asked National Assembly to support the proposed amendment when it is brought to the floor of the House, for the good of the farmers.

Kibiru who was in Mwea Monday, said it was disheartening that the farmers who produce the popular aromatic pishori rice were still tenants, 55 years after independence.

He said as a result, the farmers could not access credit facilities like their coffee and tea counterparts due to lack of title deeds, hence, the urgent need to amend Chapter 347 of the Irrigation Act.

The first generation rice farmers in this scheme is long gone, while its children inherited rice fields which have no tittle deeds, and it will be disastrous to sit and watch second generation just pass like that without addressing their plight once and for all, Kibiru said.

The farmers have only letters of allotment, which no Finance institution can accept as collateral, hence their many years of suffering, said one of the farmers, Njuguna Muchiri.

The Senator assured the farmers their plight had caught the attention of their leaders, who will now work together for positive results.

Source: Kenya News Agency