Farmers to protest proposed VAT on pest control products

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Nairobi, KENYA:A showdown is looming between farmers and the government due to an increase in value-added tax imposed on pest control products, as the Agrochemicals  Association of Kenya is now demanding that the government repeals it or else it will call for demonstrations.

   In a media briefing on Monday in Nairobi  led by  Stephen Muchiri who is the C.E.O. of Eastern  Africa Farmers Federation , Okisegere Ojepat the  C.E.O, Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya and Evelyn Lusenaka C.E.O of Agrochemicals Association of Kenya, the farmers  that if the government will not reconsider against that move; they will be forced to take unnecessary measures.

“If the government declines to repeal VAT we will have to call Wanjiku; if we have to go Unga revolution , we have to go. This is about live hoods and we will  not allow the government to take us on this .”Ojepat said

The stakeholders indicated that they are concerned about the negative effects that the introduction of the 16% VAT will have on the agriculture sector as a whole.

“We are demanding that the government repeals the just accented to tax amendment act which imposes 16% VAT on pest control products.”Muchiri said

They said that  additional cost compounds the many challenges that the Kenyan farmers are currently facing whereby in  the last  three  seasons, farmers have faced severe drought, fall armyworm invasion, prolonged floods, influx of cheap, food imports that depressed local prices indicating that those factors have   rendered the Kenyan farmers uncompetitive.

Muchiri warned that new VAT on pest control products, compounded with the expected increase in fuel ,will increase the cost of production.

“The tax increase shall result in More than 50% increase in cost of production for Kenyan farmer,increased food prices for the local mwananchi,increased dependency on food imports,increased counterfeit pesticides in the market, food safety and health concerns due to exposure to substandard pesticides and ultimately  drawback in the big 4 agenda on food security”Muchiri warned

He  pointed  that it is paradoxical that  gains achieved in the agricultural sector are going to be  killed by this move to further tax the Kenyan farmers.

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