The price of a bag of subsidised fertiliser has been reduced to Sh2,000 for all varieties. This is welcome news to farmers who have been buying the input at Sh2,500 a bag at National Cereals Produce Board (NCPB) stores.
The price cut was meant to boost yields, said Agriculture minister William Ruto while touring the Sagana NCPB depot in Kirinyaga.
The gesture has, however, been overshadowed by reports that thousands of bags of fertiliser meant for small-scale farmers were being repacked and sold at a higher price.
The scandal came to light when workers were found repackaging thousands of bags of fertiliser stamped “Government of Kenya” in a private firm’s go-down in Athi River.
Mr Ruto also announced that the government would buy maize from farmers at Sh2,300 a bag, up from Sh1,400. This will shut out brokers who have been buying the maize for as little as Sh900 per 90kg bag.
Elsewhere, Special Programmes assistant minister Mohammed Ali said the government was relying on farmers to produce enough food to distribute to hungry Kenyans. “Millions of Kenyans do not have food. We hope farmers will be able to produce enough for us not to rely on donors,” he said.
The ministry relies on grain bought from farmers for distribution to hunger-stricken Kenyans. However, owing to a prolonged drought, the government has been forced to import maize from grain-surplus countries such as South Africa to cover the shortfall.