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Bukwo Farmers Protest Hike Of Land Hiring Fees

Farmers in Bukwo District are up in arms against the decision by Sebei Elgon Cooperative Union (SECU) to increase the fees for hiring land without prior consultations. The 1766-acre land in Kapyoyon Parish in Suam Sub-county is leased to farmers annually, with SECU hiking the fees from Shillings 250.000 to 350.000.

According to the farmers, the SECU management ambushed them with exorbitant prices without considering their plans for the season. Peter Kiplangat, a resident of Bukwo Cell in Bukwo Town Council, has called on the government to investigate the matter with urgency, stating that the SECU management is executing its duties unfairly.

Eliud Kwemwa, another concerned farmer, was surprised when he went to pay the annual hire fee to the accounts department in SECU offices, only to be told that the management had increased the fee by Shillings 100.000. Kwemwa demanded clarity from the management regarding the sudden increase.

Celphine Chepkurong, a farmer and resident of Kapnandi village, Kapnandi Sub County, said that the SECU management’s handling of farmers’ affairs needs to be interrogated by the government.

Chepkurong added that some of these people think the land belongs to them, forgetting that they have a responsibility to promote farmers’ sustainable livelihood.

Fred Chebet, the Councilor LCV Riwo Sub County in Bukwo District, noted that the farmers are struggling to find money during the season, and the increased hiring fees are too much for them. He urged the SECU to understand the farmers’ plight, especially with the high prices of farm inputs.

Zakaayo Tenderezi Malinga, the manager of Sebei Elgon Cooperative Union, admitted that the hiring fees had increased by an extra Shillings 100,000 to facilitate the smooth running of the cooperative businesses. “We need this money to service the machinery which these farmers use, and there was nowhere could source an extra income from,” said Malinga.

-URN

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