The proposed farm produce regulations by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Authority (AFFA) to guide the implementation of Crops Act 2013, will send thousands of vendors who sell farm produce at kiosks and residential areas into unemployment; they will lose their income sources as the agricultural sector moves to restrict sale of food items to markets set up by counties or national government.
The implementation of this act will not only kick out your favourite Mama Mboga from your estate but will also inconvenience the relationship between households and fresh food vendors you are used to.
Under the proposed rules to guide the implementation of Crops Act 2013, all food crop produce shall be offered for sale only at designated markets and any person found selling food items outside the designated markets will face a Sh500, 000 fine or a one year jail term.
As much as these vendors come through with more services like offering ready to eat food and many people are able to put food on the table thanks to Mama mboga’s credit facility, none will risk carrying on with their trade after the legislation comes into force, looking back on the small capital base they operate with.
“The AFFA shall appoint qualified persons as inspectors to carry out inspections of all food crops produce and products,” the draft regulations state.
Vendors at every market place will be expected to provide proof to inspectors that food crops on sale were harvested at maturity or as per the market requirements and must also convince inspectors that food items on display were sorted, graded, processed, packaged, labelled, transported, and stored to standards specified by AFFA.
“All food crops produce and products dealers shall display and use a weighing scale that has been properly calibrated, serviced and inspected”
Most of these vendors are the bread winners in their families, who cannot come up with the required licenses or afford locations in designated market places, with this act the government might not be considering the strategies on how to reduce poverty or unemployment which has been one of their major goals/objectives towards vision 2030.Also not minding other small income earners from other fields of work who depend on this vendors for quick shopping on a small budget.
Vendors contribute a lot in the society and help boost the economy of the country, they strengthen the community by:
Providing the main source of income for their households, bringing food to their families and paying school fees for their children.
These informal workers have strong linkages to the formal economy. Over half the IEMS sample said they source the goods they sell from formal enterprises. Many customers work in formal jobs.
Many vendors try to keep the streets clean and safe for their customers and provide them with friendly personal service.
Street vendors create jobs, not only for themselves but for porters, security guards, transport operators, storage providers, and others.
Many generate revenue for cities through payments for licenses and permits, fees and fines, and certain kinds of taxes.
It is now very clear what would happen if these vendors get cut off with the implementation of the act, more people will be unemployed and poverty levels will increase. A new report released by the Institute for Security Studies ranks Kenya as the sixth among 10 countries in Africa with the largest extremely poor population.