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Former President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) during a meeting with Rwandan President Paul Kagame in March 2019. 
PHOTO

Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Saturday, February 17, made a plea for the resumption of the Nairobi Process led by former President Uhuru Kenyatta which seeks to bring peace and stability to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 

This followed a tense African Union (AU) meeting where Kagame remarked that his nation would not hesitate to protect nor would it apologize for safeguarding the security of its people. 

In the meeting, Kagame further told Heads of State that Rwanda would not seek permission to do so. 

In an AU document seen by Kenyans.co.keKagame’s remarks during the meeting had been redacted from the communique. 

“Rwanda is deeply concerned by the abandonment of the Luanda and Nairobi Processes by the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and by the international community's indifference to DRC's dramatic military build-up,” Rwandan foreign ministry released a statement moments after the AU Summit. 

While Rwanda remarks that the President Uhuru Kenyatta-led peace initiative had been abandoned, AU in its communique spoke of the contrary.  

AU had remarked that it was deeply concerned by the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Eastern DRC which it stated was orchestrated by Rwanda-backed M23 rebels. 

“The AU reiterates its call for M23, Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and other armed groups to unconditionally cease hostilities, disarm and engage in dialogue through the Luanda and Nairobi processes,” AU threw its weight behind Uhuru’s efforts. 

In their defence, Rwanda now claims that DRC is conducting combat operations in contravention of the decisions of regional mechanisms and aims to expel M23 and civilians to neighbouring countries. 

“The recent M23 advances are due to the DRC's decision to expel the East African Community Regional Force in December 2023, which oversaw ceasefire and withdrawal efforts,” Kagame defended his stance.  

Among forces that have been withdrawn from DRC include members of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF). 

Kagame further alleged that there was a plan by DRC President Felix Tshisekedi to invade Rwanda and institute a regime change.

Additionally, Rwanda faulted a statement by the United States which blamed Kagame’s administration for the deteriorating situation in DRC.

“The statement issued by the U.S. Department of State stands in puzzling contradiction with the substance and tone of the confidence-building process initiated by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence in November 2023, which created a productive framework for de-escalation,” Kagame’s administration stated. By Kioko Nyamasyo, Kenyans.co.ke

 

The price of maize has started going down over the past two weeks as cheaper imports from neighbouring Uganda flood the informal market.

A 90-kilogram bag of maize that used to retail at Sh 4,200 is now fetching as low as Sh 3,400 following competition from the cheap imports in parts of Trans Nzoia County.

 

According to sources, middlemen buy 90 kg of maize for between 1,500 and 1,800 in Uganda, which they later sell at between Sh3,400 and Sh3,800 locally.

The maize is being sourced from Bukwo District, Eastern Uganda, where harvesting kicked off last December.  

Kenyan middlemen have stocked huge consignments of maize sourced from across the border, which they dry and sell to local millers.Maize farmers ask for better prices and more subsidies to make a profit

The arrival of cheap imports has seen prices dwindle, a situation that has disadvantaged Kenyan farmers.

Tom Nyagechega, the Kenya National Federation of Farmer Kenff Commodity Representative, acknowledged that the cheap imports have affected local prices. 

"The cheap imports have destabilised producer prices and disadvantaged local farmers," lamented Nyagechaga.

He complained that middlemen had taken advantage of the free market to import huge maize consignments that have affected local prices. By Obare Osinde, The Standard 

‘You can sense my impatience’: Illegal migration minister ‘guarantees’ Rwanda flights before election© Sky

Illegal migration minister Michael Tomlinson has 'guaranteed' that planes will take off for Rwanda before the next general election.

Mr Tomlinson appeared on Sky NewsSunday Morning with Trevor Phillips, where he was directly asked what the government's plans were.

"I want that to happen as soon as possible, you can sense, I hope, my impatience for that", he said of his hopes for the plans. 

However, the minister noted that several bills would have to pass before the first plane would set off. By Sophie Thompson, The Independent

Azimio leader Raila Odinga has continued to get support from various quarters after expressing interest in the African Union Commission chairman post.

In a statement issued over the weekend The Amani National Congress Party (ANC) stated that it fully supports the diplomatic efforts of the Kenya Kwanza Government to have the Eastern African region lead the African Union Commission.

“We applaud Kenya’s diplomatic efforts at the on-going AU Summit in Addis Ababa, led by the Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi, and believe that the time is ripe for the Eastern African Region to lead the AU’s commission, “the statement read in part.

The party stated that Opposition leader Raila Odinga is well experienced and has shown dedication to the advancement of the African continent which makes him a highly qualified candidate suitable for the job.

“ANC also stands in full support of former Nigerian President Olesegun Obasanjo’s endorsement of Raila Odinga for the AUC chairperson, Odinga has extensive experience.”

According to The Amani National Congress Party, Odinga will protect the interests of the continent and promote unity and progress among African nations if elected as the next chairperson for the AU Commission.

The party also urged other East African Community Member States to support Odinga’s bid in order for him to take over the position next year when the current Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat retires.

 “We commend Mudavadi’s unwavering leadership in championing the region’s candidacy. His strong credentials reflect Kenya’ strong dedication to furthering the interests of the continent and promoting unity,” It added.

Government spokesman Isaac Mwaura also revealed that the opposition leader Raila Odinga would take Kenya and the continent to greater heights if he gets the top African Union (AU) Commission job. 

“If he gets an opportunity to serve us at the AU as the chair, we as Kenyans forget all our differences and rally behind a fellow Kenya. If Mr. Odinga has expressed interest, we would rather have him there because when he is there the interests of Kenya are taken care of. We as government fully support his candidature,” stated Mwaura.

Mwaura’s assertions now put to rest doubts that the  Kenya Kwanza government led by President William Ruto supports  Odinga’s candidature.

On Saturday, the ruling party United Democratic Alliance (UDA) endorsed Odinga’s bid to be the next chairperson of the Africa Union Commission however refuting claims that the party support for Odinga’s bid is a political move. By Wangechi Purity, Capital News

By MOSES MUTUA

Makueni County is located in the former Eastern Province of Kenya. Makueni has grown to be famous for farming in recent years. Already, there are water management community projects like dams, irrigation schemes, and boreholes that boost agriculture, thereby bringing wealth to all.

Over 27,000 farmers from Makueni County had benefited from certified seeds distributed by the county government of Makueni for planting during the October–December rain season in 2023. Beneficiaries were drawn from II wards that had prioritized planting seeds during the budgeting process for the 2023 financial budget.

Living in Makueni County is Mr. Jimmy M. Sukali; he is a father of three sons, one daughter and a grandfather of two daughters.

“Before I decided to venture fully into farming, I worked as a manager for a tour and travel firm. I worked there until 1998, when there was the bomb blast in Nairobi affecting the company in terms of business and forcing me to go back home and venture fully into farming.”

“My father motivated me to venture into fruit farming. He used to farm oranges and mangoes. He taught me a lot about fruit farming.”

In the late 2000's, I decided to venture fully into fruit farming. I acquired ten (10 acres) of land where I had to call a professional from agriculture to come and do some tests on my soil so that he could advise me on how to go about it and which variety of fruits to plant.

Under the 10 acres, I have planted 1,300 pixie fruit plants, 640 oranges plants and 250 Mango plants. Inside my farm, I do not use fertilizers since they affect soil pH in the long term, but with composed manure, it helps improve the structure and health of the soil by adding organic matter.

In my last harvest, I got  8 tons of pixie fruits, where 1kg of the fruit goes for around 80 to 100 Kenya shillings, depending on the market. In return, I made Kshs 80,000 after selling the pixie fruit. With oranges, I harvested 1 ton and 1kg of oranges for around 30 to 40 Kshs, depending on the market price. In return, I earned up to Kshs 30,000 from 640 Orange plants. Mangoes are not that profitable since brokers purchase them in bulk, with one going for Kshs 5, while in the market they retail for Kshs 10, where the profit is very marginal.

Apart from that, I rear cows, which provide me with milk for sale to the community. I also buy small cows for fattening, and then I sell them for profit. On the other hand, they provide me with manure, which I use on the farm to boost soil nutrients. I have also employed workers who assist me with cultivating and managing the farm.

The main challenges that I face are the infection of pests and diseases in the plants. As of now, the price of insecticide is very expensive. For example, if I apply Thunder to the plants, one litre goes for Kshs 8,000and I must spray 10 acres.

With most people doing farming, the supply is in surplus, making the price shoot further down. This has become a challenge where the cost of living and production is very high since I have to pay my workers and buy insecticides.

By trying to increase the prices so as to get better profits, you end up not getting clients since they are also facing hard economic times. Most farmers in Makueni have also embarked on pixie farming, which has made the competition twice as hard.

For someone who would want to venture into farming, I would advise them to pursue fruit farming since the return on investment is very high and it doesn’t require a lot of input for better yields, which is cost-effective.  Farming is the backbone of our economy.

 

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