Farmers are forced to sell their produce to middlemen at throwaway prices
By Isaac Lenkou
Residents of Rombo in Kajiado South constituency are appealing to the government to repair roads in the area, which have been rendered impassable by the recent rains that have pounded most parts of the country.
The residents have decried the poor state of the roads, saying this has gravely impacted on their livelihoods. Most of them rely on agriculture and are having serious difficulties in transporting their goods to the market.
They say they often end up counting huge losses as part of their produce perishes on the road.
Onesimus Kioko, a driver at Newlot Sacco — which plies the Taita Taveta-Nairobi route — told the Kajiado Star: “Since the onset of the rains, the experience in this road has been hectic. Sometimes our vehicles get stuck in the mud, and someone ends up spending even four hours to cover the distance of an hour’s drive.”
He appealed for intervention from the relevant authorities.
According to Kioko, the road is crucial as it links the coastal region with Nairobi, via Kajiado. “This is the road that farmers in the coastal region use to transport their goods to the main market, Nairobi. So, in case nothing is done about it, many people will continue to suffer.”
Meanwhile, farmers in the interior areas of Rombo are also lamenting that their farm produce is ready for harvest, but they cannot access their farms as they have been cut off by floods.
“We have reaped a lot of harvest in this season, but are still facing a crisis — our goods cannot get to the market,” says Daniel Kihoro, a farmer in Illasit area.
As a result, he says, they are forced to sell their produce to middlemen at throwaway prices, as they too factor in the hustle of ensuring that the products get to the market in time.
The Taita Taveta-Rombo road was supposed to have been tarmacked and launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in January. Surprisingly, the Chinese company that was contracted to construct the road has left the site, after interviewing locals for menial jobs.