The Laikipia Farmers Association (LFA) on Tuesday told off the former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga.
In a statement, the association has told the opposition leader that its members contributed Sh10 billion towards Laikipia County’s economy between 2014 and 2016.
The association said that they accounted for Laikipia’s largest employers, taxpayers, investors, and private sponsors of social projects such as education and health.
The Times of London, in a report published on June 12, alleged that Mr Odinga said, “These ranches are too big and the people don’t even live there; they live in Europe and only come once in a while… There’s a need for rationalisation to ensure that there’s more productive use of that land.”
The former premier had promised to dismantle white-owned ranches in Laikipia to prevent chaos if he wins the August 8 general elections.
A recent economic survey revealed that in 2016 LFA members were employing 4,446 people on salaries of Sh1.14 billion per annum. Taxes of Sh560 million were paid to the KRA and the county – proving their productivity through enterprise.
The LFA is also about productivity for people. In 2016 alone, LFA members contributed Sh218 million towards social projects.
A large portion of this sum went towards education – building schools, paying teachers and education staff, plus sponsoring students at secondary school and universities.
The association also helps communities with pasture for many thousands of cattle during times of droughts. LFA helps find markets for their livestock.
The LFA in the statement assured Mr Odinga that its members are not in Europe.
”They are living and working very hard right here on the ground in Laikipia, because that is the only way to mind a successful business. All the ranches are owned by Kenyan citizens, whatever their racial origins, or by Kenyan companies or Kenyan trusts. These are people who have constitutional rights to protection of their property and their lives,” read the statement in part.
Laikipia has suffered months of invasions by pastoralists from other counties. The incursions have caused the deaths of many local people and inflicted economic losses now running into the billions.
The farmers called on all politicians to support the urgent need for stability.