, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 17 – The Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Authority (AFFA) has warned all famers and traders involved in selling produce against flouting the new regulations of 50 kilogram bags packaging or face tough penalties.
The authority’s Interim Director General Alfred Busolo says despite the introduction of the regulations last month, a majority of traders are still exceeding the 50kg bags.
The obligation he says, is based on section 42 of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Authority Act 2013, as read with section 37 of the Crops Act 2013.
“The implementation is immediate and we went to the media notifying the people that anybody who is packaging agricultural produce should be at 50kg bags; be it Irish potatoes, coffee or maize,” Busolo warned.
The penalty for those convicted of breaking the law will a Sh500,000 fine or a jail term not exceeding one year.
The move has created several reactions with farmers welcoming the move while traders lamenting that it will oppress their business.
“The Millers Association did ask that we give them time. But we have discussed and advised them that it is not possible and that the implementation is immediate,” he said.
Busolo says the new law covers over 20 farm products, ranging from cereals, roots and legumes.
He says the law has been in existence since 2005 but has been revised to include penalties which were not there. Crops like maize and beans are currently sold in 90 bags but that will not be the case anymore.
Busolo however said the authority will be working with all stakeholders including security agencies to ensure smooth implementation.
“We have talked about working with the county governments. We have also written to the office of the Inspector General, the CID and agencies that would be involved in monitoring movements of produce. We will also have our own inspectors on the ground,” he said.
The authority has urged manufacturers on the other hand to make the 50kg bags to assist the traders.
Busolo was speaking on Wednesday morning while giving an update on some of the reforms made in the agricultural sector since the inception of the authority in August this year.
Institutions that form AFFA include the Tea Board of Kenya, Coffee Board of Kenya, Kenya Sugar Board, Horticultural Crops Development Authority, Pyrethrum Board of Kenya, Sisal Board of Kenya, Cotton Development Authority and Kenya Coconut Development Authority.