104,000 tonnes of cheap fertiliser finally arrives

Monday February 29 2016

Agriculture Minister Willy Bett at a past

Agriculture Minister Willy Bett at a past event. He says subsidised fertiliser imported by the Government has arrived in Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Subsidised fertiliser imported by the Government has arrived in Mombasa and will be available to farmers Tuesday.

The 104,000-tonne consignment was immediately loaded onto trucks after it arrived on Friday, and delivered to National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) stores countrywide.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett said farmers can start buying the input by Tuesday at Sh1,800 per 50-kilogramme bag.

He assured farmers that they will have enough fertiliser for the upcoming planting season.

The minister said there was no reason to panic as more fertiliser was on its way to Kenya.

“The fertiliser is on its way to NCPB depots so that farmers don’t have to travel long distances to purchase it,” the minister said in a telephone interview.

He said the fertiliser would be made available to all counties where farming is extensively practised.

Mr Bett warned middlemen against attempting to frustrate farmers, saying growers are free to purchase as much fertiliser as they require for their plantations.

Thousands of farmers have been flocking to NCPB depots in the North Rift and parts of the Nyanza region for the last two months, looking for the elusive input.

Fears were high that the delay in having access to the fertiliser could affect the planting season.

But yesterday, the minister said with the arrival of the 104,000 tonnes, farmers had no cause to worry.

Unscrupulous middlemen have been cashing in on the shortage and selling the input at Sh3,000 per 50-kilogramme bag.

Mr Bett said senior managers at NCPB depots will be expected to file their returns for the ministry to monitor the uptake of the fertiliser.

He urged farmers to increase the acreage under maize so that Kenya is assured of sufficient stocks of the grain for local consumption and export.

“No Kenyan should die of hunger when the Government has taken adequate action to ensure no fake seeds or fertiliser are sold,” said the CS.

He added that his ministry had directed seed companies to produce high-yielding seed varieties.

The national government has also increased the number irrigation schemes to boost security in the country, according to the minister.