Kenya: Farmers' Problems Began When Politicians Took Over Agriculture

Agricultural parastatals have always been cannibalised, literally, by placing management in the hands of incompetent managers. Once in office, they create opportunities for their political godfathers without a care about the future of the parastatal.

In the days of President Daniel arap Moi, some of those appointed often came to office quite broke. They would then use the parastatals to make money for themselves and their godfathers. Such plans included importing sugar and/or maize. Because the officials appointed to these posts had men of influence behind them (there were no women appointed to these posts), they would command the minister to legalise the imports or get him to buy in into the idea of importing the commodity. But to make huge profits fast and early, the process of importation would begin even before the relevant minister could authorise the imports. Once the commodity was in the high seas, the minister would issue the legal notice. Maize and sugar would flood the market. With money hitting their accounts, they would pressure the minister to freeze imports and re-introduce tax on imports.



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