Livestock traders and farmers from all the pastoralist counties on Friday claimed Kenya Meat Commission owes them a whopping Sh264 million.
The same amount was confirmed by KMC’s acting chief accountant, Diana Odongo, and said the commission is in talks with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries on the same.
The accounts department said the KMC CEO, James Ole Serian met with the parliamentary committee on agriculture and raised the matter of the money they owe traders.
“We have asked for more money to be factored in the 2019/2020 financial budget on our recurrent budget so that we can be able to use the same to pay the farmers,” said KMC spokesman Peter Rakawa.
Speaking in Kajiado town, the farmers led by David Nkirrimpai (Kajiado), Moses Tunai (Narok) Hassan Hussein (Eastern), Mohammed Dagane (North Eastern) and Moses Meeli (Kajiado, said they have been waiting for the last three years for the money.
“We have had a painful experience for the last three years. No one seems to be ready to assist us even after using politicians to take our plight to the Senate and the national parliament,” said Nkirrimpai.
Nkirrimpai appealed to President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene on the matter as he has done for coffee, maize and sugarcane farmers.
“We know the President will be in Narok during the Madaraka Day on June 1, and we want him to address our issue. We are saying so because among us there are many farmers and traders from Narok County who are also owed millions of shillings,” said Nkirrimpai.
Hussein said livestock farmers in the country have been reduced to paupers by KMC.
“We are owed millions of shillings by KMC, which is the cause of our frustration. Our children are not going to school now. Some of us have separated with wives because of poverty,” claimed Hussein.
He wondered why KMC is making orders of livestock from farmers while they know that they have no money to pay them.
Meeli said the farmers want KMC to pay them the outstanding bills for livestock they supplied to the plant before implementing its proposed privatisation.
Kenya Livestock Marketing Council chairman, Dubat Amey says the traders supplied their livestock to KMC on credit because they believed that in case the parastatal fails to pay them, then the government will come in.
According to a KMC report seen by KNU, the commission’s outstanding pending bills stands at over Sh490 million which comprises Sh264 million for livestock suppliers.
Other bills are Sh82 million for general suppliers, 122 million for statutory obligations and Sh92 million for the off-take programme.
The Commission has been experiencing cash flow challenges and is not able to meet its obligations on a timely basis due to high operational costs arising from old machinery and low production levels due to frequent breakages.
The pending bills, especially on livestock, has affected the ability of the commission to meet the current customers’ orders due to the fact that farmers are not willing to make further deliveries to the commission.
Despite the challenges the Commission is facing, it has signed contracts with customers of approximately 1 billion which if fully serviced can help the commission stabilize its cash flows and become profitable.