Members of Parliament are set to implement changes in the nuts and oil crops sector to address issues with brokers and cartels. The Nuts and Oil Crops Development Bill 2023, currently in Parliament, proposes that individuals processing and selling nuts, including coconut, macadamia, and groundnuts, obtain licenses.
Under the legislation, those in the trade without permits may face a Ksh1 million fine, a two-year jail term, or both. The bill outlines an application process where individuals submit to the county executive committee member following county legislation.
The committee reviews applications within 14 days, either granting or rejecting the license, communicating decisions within seven days in writing.
Senator Hamida Kibwana, the bill’s proponent, aims to rejuvenate the industry through policy enforcement. Kibwana emphasizes the necessity for a resilient policy foundation to support industry activities and operations, fostering agricultural economic growth.
“There is a need for a string and robust policy and institutional foundation to support and guide the multitude of activities, operations, and interactions with the industry so that the growth of the industry results in a strengthened agricultural economy for the country,” the Senator said.
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The bill also proposes establishing the Nuts and Oil Crops Development Board to regulate the industry and promote value addition in processing. The legislation aims to acknowledge the medicinal, aesthetic, touristic, and artistic value of various nuts.