Kenya eyes June as completion date for Eldoret fertiliser plant

Thursday February 18 2016

Protesting small scale farmers wait to collect bags of fertiliser at the National Cereals and Produce Board depot in Nakuru on March 10, 2014. The farmers have complained due to the delays in the supply of subsidised fertilisers. They say they are getting a raw deal from the National Cereals and Produce Board. PHOTO/SULEIMAN MBATIAH

Protesting small-scale farmers wait to collect fertiliser at the National Cereals and Produce Board depot in Nakuru on March 10, 2014. PHOTO/SULEIMAN MBATIAH NATION

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The government now says the planned Sh103 billion fertiliser plant in Eldoret will be complete in four months.

Deputy President William Ruto said Wednesday he was optimistic that the Eldoret-based factory, which is being constructed by Japanese company Toyota Tsusho, will be complete by June this year.

Construction of the first phase of the plant began last September, in a move that is expected to bring down the cost of one of the key farm inputs.

The factory, funded through a public-private partnership between the government and Toyota Tsusho East Africa, is meant to streamline the manufacturing, supply and distribution of the vital farming ingredient.

The government estimates that the plant will cut the cost of fertiliser by about 40 per cent, or less than Sh2,000 per 50 kilogramme bag. This will also save billions of shillings in subsidies. The government spends Sh3 billion annually to provide farmers with low-cost fertiliser at Sh1,600 compared to the market rate of Sh3,500.

Mr Ruto said this when he hosted a Japanese delegation led by Mr Tetsuro Yano, the President of Japan Association of African Economy and Development at his Karen office.

During the meeting also attended by Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter, the DP called on Japanese private companies to increase investments in Kenya to address the huge trade disparities between the two countries.

Mr Ruto asked investors to set up manufacturing plants in Kenya and cash in on the expanded free trade area within the sub-Saharan African market as well as a favourable investment climate.

He said the trade balance between the two nations is heavily in favour of Japan and underscored the need to bridge the gap.