The pledge to begin paying farmers in the North Rift from tomorrow for their maize delivered to the National Cereals and Produce Board must be duly honoured.
The farmers have for too long been given a raw deal despite working so hard to earn a living as they feed their fellow Kenyans.
It is grossly unfair that after investing time and money in inputs and labour to grow and harvest the maize, some get turned away from the board’s depots with their produce as happened several months ago.
During the senators’ first sitting outside Nairobi in the grain basket North Rift county of Nandi early in the week, they received first-hand feedback from farmers’ representatives on the difficulties they have to endure as a result of failure by the authorities to help solve their problems.
The farmers say they are tired of hearing about cartels that continue to thrive on their sweat.
The authorities must ensure that only the genuine farmers receive their much-awaited and hard-earned cash.
Investigations have established that cheap illegal maize imports from a neighbouring country are at the core of the suffering of the farmers.
The NCPB has given an assurance it has verified the genuine beneficiaries of the Sh1.4 billion payout.
And Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa has confirmed that more than 1,400 farmers will get their eagerly awaited money.
Those found culpable amongst the nearly 200 farmers being investigated for allegedly making fraudulent claims must be punished.
There is also an urgent need to review and streamline the payment system before the next harvest.
The vetting must be strengthened to ensure that only genuine farmers deliver their maize to the board’s depots.
This includes identification by local leaders such as chiefs to confirm that only genuine farmers, and not brokers, can sell their maize to the NCPB.
The mandate of the board and the authorities is to ensure that the hard-working farmers get an honest return on their investment and that farming does not become a source of pain and agony for Kenyans, as a few crooked people profiteer from their sweat.