OUTCRY FROM FARMERS

Subsidised fertiliser may be inadequate, says NCPB as Munya cancels meeting

Board spokesman says they are trying to buy more but shortage makes it difficult

In Summary

• CS was to visit Turbo and Eldoret NCPB depots to inspect distribution of the subsidised fertiliser and meet farmers. Visit cancelled.

• Meeting pushed to last this week said farmers' association director Menjo

A worker offloads fertiliser. The government has subsidised prices by almost half the price after prices soared to as muchas Sh6,000 per 50kg bag on the open market.
COSTLY FERTILISER: A worker offloads fertiliser. The government has subsidised prices by almost half the price after prices soared to as muchas Sh6,000 per 50kg bag on the open market.
Image: FILE

Agriculture CS Peter Munya has cancelled a meeting with farmers about subsidised fertiliser and his inspection of fertiliser distribution.

He gave no reason. Munya was to visit NCPB depots in Turbo and Eldoret town on Friday last week, and then meet farmers.

Farmers are protesting shortage of subsidised fertiliser, especially top dressing. There has not been enough fertiliser to go around although there is still money in the subsidy programme. 

NCPB spokesman Titus Mayo said due to the current situation supplies may not be adequate due to the high demand. He said the government was trying to buy more and distribute it fairly around the county.

Kenya Farmers Association director Kipkorir Menjo said they had been informed Munya's visit, which was to take place last Friday, had been pushed to later this week. 

“We welcome the CS so he can listen to farmers but now the  shortage of fertiliser is the main concern," Menjo said.

Last week farmers in Turbo stormed the NCPB depot protesting against what they called illegal sale of subsidised fertiliser at night causing them to miss out on the supplies.

The board denied sale of fertiliser to selected people.

NCPB said it has so far sold 210,000 bags of subsidised fertiliser.

The market price of CAN and urea are about Sh6,000 per 50kg bag; subsidised fertiliser costs about half.

Top dressing is in high demand around the country as planting begins.

Board spokesman Maiyo said the government is working with suppliers to fill the gap that has caused an outcry from farmers, most in high-producing North Rift regions.

The government had set aside Sh5.7 billion for the subsidised fertiliser and the board said that amount is yet to be exhausted.

Maiyo admitted the shortage, especially of top dressing.

“We have not exhausted the subsidies programme but we are facing challenges in getting adequate supplies, hence, the shortages reported,"Maiyo said.

He said the board is making all efforts to get more fertiliser at all depots.

“We are working round the clock to increase supplies. We urge the farmers to understand the situation we are faced with but we hope to work with suppliers to resolve the challenges,” Maiyo said.

More than 30,000 farmers have so far benefitted from subsidised fertiliser in North Rift where many of them are still planting maize following the start of rains.

Most of the farmers access the fertiliser from the National Cereals and Produce Board depots in Eldoret, Kitale, Kapenguria, Nandi and other areas.

Menjo and NCPB regional manager for North Rift Gilbert Rotich met farmers at Turbo to discuss how best to distribute the little supplies available.

“Most farmers are worried the shortages will reduce production because many of them cannot afford the price of fertiliser on the open market," Menjo said.

"Most farmers are rushing to get fertiliser at NCPB depots and demand has far outstripped supply," he said.

“The board ensures balancing all supplies so farmers in all areas can at least benefit." He said due to the current situation, however, supplies may not be adequate due to the high demand.

A representative of small-scale farmers David Kiberenge said the government should also budget enough cash to store adequate supplies.

Companies supplying fertiliser to NCPB include OCP Kenya, Fanisi, Maisha Minerals, Minjingu Mines and Baraka Limited.

(Edited by V. Graham) 

“WATCH: The latest videos from the Star”