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Fertiliser maker moves to curb fake products

Thursday January 26 2017

A fork-lift transports bags of fertiliser in a fertiliser firm in Uasin Gishu.

A fork-lift transports bags of fertiliser in a fertiliser firm in Uasin Gishu. Yara East Africa a regional fertiliser manufacturer has come up with new strategies to curb sale of fake fertiliser and inputs ahead of the planting season. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

LEOPOLD OBI
By LEOPOLD OBI
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A regional fertiliser manufacturer has come up with new strategies to beat sale of fake inputs ahead of the planting season.

Yara East Africa said it has improved its packaging and partnered with anti-counterfeit agencies to crack down on fake fertiliser distributors.

James Craske, Yara's Country Manager, Kenya and Uganda, noted that fake fertiliser presents a huge a setback to the industry as it denies farmers and manufacturers income.

“We have introduced smaller packages of 50kg, 25kg and 10kg to make fertiliser affordable and accessible,” said Craske, who was speaking at the company’s annual event in Nairobi.

Vitalis Wafula, the company’s regional agronomist, urged the government to invest in infrastructure to minimise operation costs.

“It costs Sh3,536 ($35) to ship a container of goods from Europe to Mombasa yet to move the same cargo from the port to Malaba, one spends Sh8,320 ($80). Such costs are passed to the consumers making products expensive,” Wafula said.

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TRAINING OF SMALLHOLDER FARMERS

The agronomist called for the training of smallholder farmers to utilise water sources to enhance food production evening during dry spells.

“Farmers should be trained on water harvesting and storage so that they can use the collected water for irrigation purposes rather than relying on rainfall,” he said.

Dr Johnston Irugu, the Director of Agriculture, Crop Resources, Agribusiness and Market, said the government is working on e-subsidy to improve the efficiency in distribution of subsidised fertilisers.

“We have a pilot of the project in three countries and we are now ready to roll out the programme as soon so as possible.”

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NOTE: An earlier version of this article erroneously referred to James Craske as Yara Account Manager, Kenya, however the error has been corrected to portray his right position as the Group's Country Manager for Kenya and Uganda.