•The state has caped the price of a 50-kilogram bag of the subsidised fertilizer at a maximum purchasing price of Sh3,500.
•The subsidy fertiliser programme is aimed at bringing down the cost of fertiliser which had increased significantly to Sh6,500 per 50 Kg bag.
The governments subsidised fertiliser programme has recorded a slow uptake with more than 70 per cent of farmers yet to benefit from the initiative.
The state is however optimistic that access to the subsidized fertilizer is expected to rise since the distribution is still ongoing.
According to a CBK Agriculture Study from March, only 29 percent of farmers had gotten the subsidized fertilizers by the beginning of the month, compared to 20percent who had by the beginning of November 2022.
“Farmers yet to receive the subsidized fertilizer cited a lag between the date of receipt of the notification and redemption of the voucher. Some of those not registered cited poor quality of the fertilizer, limited stocks, delayed delivery and lack of money,” read the report.
The government through the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) is mainly supplying Nitrogen Potassium Calcium (NPK) fertiliser under the subsidy programme, forcing farmers to buy their preferred Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) in agro vets.
The state has caped the price of a 50-kilogram bag of the subsidised fertilizer at a maximum purchasing price of Sh3,500.
The Ministry of Agriculture says that 300,000 metric tons, or 6 million bags, of planting fertilizer will be available for the long rain season.
For top dressing, the government will avail 200,000 metric tonnes amounting to 4 million bags.
So far, 1431 farmers across the country, in the counties of Narok, Nakuru, Migori, Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia, West Pokot, Nandi, Kericho, Bomet, Kakamega, Bungoma, Elgeyo Marakwet have accessed the fertiliser according to the Ministry of Agriculture.
To access the Government subsidised fertilisers, a farmer must be digitally registered with about 4.3 million farmers having registered of whom 1.08 million registered as maize growers on the platform.
“The program will continue until the onset of the long rains in 2023 and until such a time when food prices in the country will be stable and fertiliser prices affordable,” the ministry said in a recent statement.
Late last year, President William Ruto directed that subsidised fertiliser be given only to registered farmers through e-wallet arrangements.
The subsidy fertiliser programme is aimed at bringing down the cost of fertiliser which had increased significantly to Sh6,500 per 50 Kg bag.
The report further says that the sampled farmers cited high cost of seeds and fertiliser, lack of finances, limited knowledge of inputs, lack of extension officers and poor fertilizer seeds variety as the main challenges constraining access to farm inputs.
“To mitigate against this, some farmers resort to use of informal inputs such as charcoal dust to decrease acidity in soils. Respondents indicated that uptake of farm inputs could be revamped through improvement of the government’s agricultural input subsidy schemes such as the recent one on fertiliser,” stated the report.
Over the years the fertiliser subsidy programme has had mixed results in terms of its impact on agricultural productivity and food security.
While it has helped many smallholder farmers to access affordable fertilisers and improve their yields, there have been challenges with corruption, inefficiencies in the distribution system, and limited access to credit and other agricultural inputs.