ONSET OF RAINS

Plant correct crop varieties for better yields, farmers told

Government negotiates fertiliser prices to cushion farmers against high costs

In Summary

• Government spokesperson Cyrus Oguna said farmers should use the input subsidy offered for fertiliser to increase their productivity.

• They should source appropriate fertiliser for planting and top dressing from registered agro-dealers.

Farmers plant maize in Cherangany, Trans Nzoia county
PLANTING AT LAST: Farmers plant maize in Cherangany, Trans Nzoia county
Image: FILE

The government has urged farmers to take advantage of the onset of rains to plant high-yielding crop varieties that will boost their harvest. 

Government spokesperson Cyrus Oguna said farmers should use the input subsidy offered for fertiliser to increase their productivity.

They should source appropriate fertiliser for planting and top dressing from registered agro-dealers. The recommended price range is Sh3,100 to 3,400 for planting and Sh2,300 to 2,900 for top dressing.

Oguna advised farmers in areas likely to get less rainfall to plant drought-tolerant and early-maturing cereals and legumes. Cowpeas, pigeon peas, green grams, sweet potatoes, millet, sorghum and beans are options to consider.  

Last week, Agriculture CS Peter Munya said the government has negotiated with some manufacturers to bring down the prices of fertiliser.

Munya said the move is aimed at cushioning farmers against the high cost of fertiliser in the market which is attributed to the increased prices of fuel. Currently, a 50kg bag of fertiliser goes for between Sh3,200 and Sh3,500.

Munya told journalists that the pricing has been negotiated to factor in the Covid-19 pandemic, exchange rates and fuel prices.

“Prices of DAP planting fertiliser will sell at Sh3,100 for a 50 kg bag under the Ministry’s e-voucher programme. We believe the negotiated pricing will go a long way in bringing down the cost of production to farmers in view of prevailing economic circumstances in Kenya and the world,” he said.

The e-voucher system replaced the fertiliser subsidy programme in 2019 after unscrupulous traders schemed and benefitted at the expense of genuine farmers.

Farmers currently receive a voucher from their county governments to buy farm inputs such as seeds and fertiliser from the nearest agro-dealer. The registered and licensed agro-dealers claim their payments from the government.

Munya said farmers can also access the fertiliser at the National Cereals and Produce Board and Kenya National Trading Corporation at affordable prices.

He authorised NCPB to sell the government’s residue balance of subsidised fertiliser at the approved rate to all farmers without a vetting procedure.

NCPB boss Joseph Kimote said the board has a stock of approximately 124,000 50kg bags of residual subsidised fertiliser.

“We will sell the assorted blends of fertiliser at the previous subsidised price of Sh1,800 per 50 kg bag.  The fertiliser will be sold to any interested person on a first come first serve basis. The stocks are available in various depots in the country,” he said.

Kimote confirmed that there will be no vetting as it is open for anybody that wants to buy the assorted fertiliser in stock.

 

(edited by o. owino)