Cyprian Is Nyakundi

Why use of animal manure in farms could soon be criminalized by the government

It could soon be illegal to plant crops using animal manure if a new bill drafted by the Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary, the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) and county governments is passed.

In the new bill that seeks to regulate the agriculture sector, farmers are also required to allow food-crops inspectors into their farms or risk a three-year jail term.

The proposed Crops Regulations, 2018 law seeks to tighten regulations governing food production, processing, marketing, imports and exports.

The new rules will prohibit farmers from growing crops next to sites capable of contaminating the soil, air and water.

This would mean that farmers can no longer grow food crops near sites used for domestic animal production and would result to a big blow for farmers who grow crops side by side with animals.

According to the Agriculture and Food Authority Manager Ms. Beatrice Nyamwamu, the bill is a first serious attempt “to bring order” in the sector.

Regulation 27 of the bill restricts food crop production in areas with a likelihood of contamination through water, drainage, run-off, wind erosion, animals vehicles and equipment.

Food inspectors will also be appointed to ensure that food crops and products conform to local and international standards.

Some of the crops targeted by the bill are maize, barley, finger millet, pearl millet, wheat, wheat pasta, oats, ryre, triticale and amaranth.

Inspectors will also oversee safety standards during harvesting, grading, packaging, labelling, transportation and processing of crops.

Dealers, marketing agents, collection centres, warehouse operators, manufacturers and exporters are also expected to register their contracts with farmers at the AFA in a process that will be witnessed by county government officials.

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