The Department of trade in the Makueni county assembly has started enforcing the law requiring farmers to pack their produce in sacks not exceeding 50kg.
The County Inspectorate in conjunction with officers from the Department seized several lorries transporting oranges packed in big sacks heading to Nairobi.
The traders were forced to weigh their sacks again to ascertain the weight before getting arrested.
The crackdown was led by Trade Minister Lawrence Nzung’a who said that the Government will continue to implement the law and there will be no turning back.
We are urging our farmers and traders we should stop breaking the law. We will not accept any horticultural produce under schedule 1 of the regulations to enter or leave Makueni exceeding the kilograms needed,” he said.
These products should be packed as required, we are working in conjunction with finance officers, the revenue officer and enforcement officers” noted the minister.
However, some of the traders want the law revised stating that it was unfair to them.”We have already bought the products from the farmer who cares how we package them? asked a trader caught up in the crackdown.
Director Horticultural Crops Directorate Benjamin Tito explained that the purpose of the law was to ensure the hygiene and safety of food by ensuring it’s carried and handled in the proper way.
The new law took effect in 2019 in a bid to protect farmers from being exploited by traders and middlemen. The fine for violation of the law is between 50,000 to 5 million or a six months jail sentence.