Agency in drive to enforce 50-kg Irish potato bag rules

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Agency in drive to enforce 50-kg Irish potato bag rules


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Irish potato farmers in Meru should utilise a 250- tonne cold storage facility whose construction is set for completion in March. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Agriculture regulator has launched a crackdown on traders violating the 50-kilogramme rule in the packaging of Irish potatoes as the government moves to implement the new regulation.
  • Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) launched the crackdown in Meru Wednesday with those found violating the rule expected to be arrested and arraigned for defying Cap 16 of the Crops Act, which banned packaging of the produce in extended bags.

Agriculture regulator has launched a crackdown on traders violating the 50-kilogramme rule in the packaging of Irish potatoes as the government moves to implement the new regulation.

Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) launched the crackdown in Meru Wednesday with those found violating the rule expected to be arrested and arraigned for defying Cap 16 of the Crops Act, which banned packaging of the produce in extended bags.

Traders were required to adhere to the regulations on packaging from April 2 when the law was to take effect. However, most of them are yet to comply, prompting the authority to start the crackdown.

“Key in the implementation process is to ensure packaging in the required standard of 50Kg. The enforcement will be executed in the entire value chain from the farm to the markets,” said AFA director-general Kello Harsama.

He said the exercise would be extended to 10 other potato-growing counties.

The AFA, the Interior ministry and stakeholders in the Irish potato value chain have set out an elaborate implementation plan for the regulations.

Mr Harsama said they had sensitised stakeholders on the regulations and that they expect value chain players to comply with the guidelines by reversing the current scenario where potatoes are weighed in 110-kilogramme bags, subjecting farmers to huge losses.

The AFA said inspectors have been recruited and duly briefed ahead of the crackdown.

The inspectors will work with the law enforcement agencies from the national and county governments.

Some traders moved to court to challenge the 50-kilogramme rule, delaying its implementation.

The standardisation issues started long before the creation of the AFA with by-laws that were adopted by the cities, municipalities and townships through the Legal Notice No 113 of 2008, following 2005 notice on the standardisation policy set a Sh2,000 as fine or a term not exceeding six months imprisonment.

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