First Lady Margaret Kenyatta today asked Meru farmers to stop over-reliance on Miraa and diversify their farming into the equally lucrative horticultural agri-business.
She said the newly introduced unfavorable laws restricting the entry of Khat into the consuming markets of Europe is a wake-up call for the farmers to explore other revenue streams.
The First Lady however asked the farmers to use the financial resources they still make from Miraa in the education of their children adding that the future belongs to an educated society.
“We should ensure we educate our children since the future belongs to these young adorable kids. You can never go wrong when you invest in children through education”, said the First Lady.
She spoke at the Meru Technical Training Institute Grounds when she handed over the 28th fully kitted Beyond Zero Mobile Clinic to Meru County.
Besides farming, the First Lady said many sectors in Kenya had opened other investment opportunities that are generating huge profits including the motor-cycle transport sector.
The First Lady said as much as the boda boda sector employs a great number of the Kenyan youth and local residents, there is need for the operators to adhere to the stipulated traffic laws to reduce the currently high road carnage associated with the motor-cycle transport business.
“I also urge genuine operators to form membership saccos so that they can monitor and keep off criminals who are tarnishing the names of other sincere operators”,said the First Lady.
She said the Ameru have a rich cultural heritage but underlined the need to do away with all retrogressive practices such as the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) .
She said FGM has been known to cause both physiological and psychological problems among girls and women which at times lead to difficulties during childbirth, infections and even death.
“It (FGM) has also contributed significantly to the high number of early marriages occurring in Meru”, she said and commended the women who have started dissuading the community from FGM and promoting the Alternative Rites of Passage (ARP)
The First Lady thanked the Starkey Hearing Foundation (SHF), a charity, for setting camp at the occasion where it provided free check-ups on people with hearing impairments.
She said hearing impairments especially amongst women results in greater challenges of getting an education and also affects their access to health.
“In children, it causes delay in the development of speech and language”, she added
The First Lady asked other partners in the health sector to emulate the SHF by initiating programs that supplement both the government and the Beyond Zero initiative in the provision of health services.
The mobile clinic, sponsored by the Beyond Zero initiative , was received by the Governor Peter Munya on behalf of the Meru people.