Uriri MP John Kobado has faulted Mastermind Tobacco Kenya for frustrating farmers in Migori County.
Speaking to farmers in Uriri Constituency when he visited several leaf centers, Kobado said that the firm has been refusing to buy tobacco from contracted farmers and increasing pricing regulations.
According to the legislator, the firm has restricted buying of only five bales of tobacco from farmers and instructed farmers with excess produce to wait for next season.
Kobado said the firm has ignored agreement signed by farmers and have placed 17 different grading scales for payment which have left farmer with minimum and low pricing.
The legislator said tobacco firms in the county are exploiting farmers which has increased cycle of poverty as farmers have been locked out in making decisions affecting them.
He visited Ayego and Osogo leaf collection centers where he addressed farmers. His comments follow similar sentiments shared by Governor Okoth Obado who instructed tobacco farmers in Migori from trading with Mastermind Tobacco.
John Magige, a farmer from Ayego who harvested 42 bales said he has been stranded after the directive by the firm and will not be able to pay his production loan.
Magige said most farmers will stop tobacco farming and opt for food crop farming and other cash crops.
Recently Governor Okoth Obado banned Mastermind Tobacco Kenya (MTK) from operating in Migori County, he said the firm, MTK, is frustrating farmers through delayed and meager payments.
I am asking all farmers contracted who subscribe to Mastermind to switch to other cash crops like bamboo which is doing very well in the region because this company is unwelcome in Migori.
Mastermind has been taking farmers for a ride, enough is enough, let them move to another county, Mr Obado told Migori tobacco farmers which is the largest producer of tobacco in Kenya.
Migori produces tobacco in the four major constituencies that includes Kuria East, Kuria West, Suna East, Suna West and Urir respectively.
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