The Society of Crop Agribusiness Advisors (SOCAA) has drafted a crop bill that’s pending in parliament to protect small-scale farmers from quacks who pretend to give advice and end up confusing them.
The Nakuru County SOCAA Manager, Felix Ondingo said the time was ripe for the protection of crops and especially smallholder farmers, adding that for a long time they have been the target of anybody who decides to give ‘professional’ advice, irrespective of whether they are trained agronomists or agriculturalists.
He said crop farmers were the main target of imposters because the area doesn’t seem to belong to any known professional by farmers, unlike animal husbandry which has veterinarians, and most livestock farmers rely on their advice.
Ondingo said the pending crop protection bill in parliament seeks to ensure that only trained crop professionals are eligible to advise farmers on planting, type of seed for particular areas, soil treatment and suitable fertilizers.
In an interview with KNA Tuesday, he stated that SOCAA is home to professionals in agriculture dedicated to advancing professional crop production and enhancing the agribusiness value chain.
Additionally, he said membership is open to practicing agronomists, farm managers, crop protection and production input (agrochemical, fertilizers, and seeds) advisors, post-harvest/food safety advisors, market access and crop enterprise support advisor working with vegetables, flowers, tea, cereals, pulses and other crops.
Bernard Mwenje, the chairman of small-scale farmers in the county, said a ‘crop protection bill’ was long overdue because they have been exposed to fraudster advice for a long time without knowing where, or what to do with people who pretend to be professionals but end up misleading farmers.
Moreover, he said the new phenomenon of climate-smart farming has proved to be an easy gathering for play-actors of pretentious entry into people’s farms, field days and workshops.
He appealed to the government to ensure that anybody who runs a farming NGO, must be vetted first by agriculturalists to reduce small-scale farmers’ agonizing moments of being trained by people who know nothing about crops.