Farmers have paid Sh9 billion for subsidised fertiliser

Programme in limbo because the ministry has Sh14.7 billion deficit for cheaper fertiliser.

In Summary

The budgetary requirement was Sh19.2 billion but the project has only been allocated Sh4.5 billion by the Treasury.

That means a Sh14.7 billion resource gap, crop development PS Kello Harasama told the Agriculture Committee of the National Assembly on Monday. Way forward unclear.

Workers offload subsidised fertiliser for distribution to farmers in Nandi county
SUBSIDISED: Workers offload subsidised fertiliser for distribution to farmers in Nandi county
Image: FILE:

The Government has so far distributed more than two million bags of subsidised fertiliser to farmers in 32 counties but it hasn't been allocated enough for the entire programme of 4.28 million bags

President William Ruto said the government is working with farmers to increase production through supporting them with subsidised fertiliser and seeds. This, he said, will help cushion Kenyans against the high cost of living and bring down the cost of food.

“To sort out the high cost of living, we are looking at increasing production by working with farmers to achieve this. We are supporting farmers with fertiliser and seeds and an additional 200,000 acres of land has been put into production,” he said in a televised interview.

Ruto confirmed the subsidy has been able to bring down the price of fertiliser from Sh7,000 to Sh3,500 per 50kg bag.

On Monday, however, the State Department of Crop Development PS Kello Harsama told the National Assembly Agriculture Committee the Ministry is has a deficit of Sh14.7 billion for the fertiliser subsidy programme.  

He said the budgetary requirement for the rollout of the programme was Sh19.2 billion but the project was allocated only Sh4.5 billion by the Treasury.

“This translates to a Sh14.7 billion resource gap that the state department now fears could hamper the programme. The government will not be able to provide 4.28 million bags of fertiliser, thus reduced production,” the PS said.

The way forward is unertain.

“Farmers have been able to pay Sh9 billion, this means the government has since spent about Sh6 billion on fertiliser subsidy,” the President said.

According to the National Cereals and Produce Board, 2. 3 million farmers have been registered by the Ministry of Agriculture.

The data showed 2.57 million 50kg bags of subsidised fertiliser had been disbursed to farmers from 32 counties by May 14.

A total of 2.523 million vouchers have been issued to maize farmers from the government’s registration platform. Out these, 395,653 e-vouchers have been cashed to date.

Counties where farmers have received vouchers include Baringo, Bomet, Bungoma, Busia, Elgeyo Marakwet, Embu, Homa Bay, Kajiado, Kakamega, Kericho, Kirinyaga, Kisii, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, Meru, Migori, Murang'a, Nakuru, Nandi, Narok, Nyamira, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Tharaka Nithi, Siaya, Trans-Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Vihiga and West Pokot.

By Sunday, the stock being held by the National Cereals and Produce Board and Kenya National Trading Corporation Limited (KNTC) warehouses was 703,415, 50kg bags. 

The data further indicated 251,041 farmers from the 32 counties had redeemed 1.66 million bags of planting fertiliser and paid Sh5.9 billion.

“For the top dressing fertiliser, 873,601 bags had been redeemed by 123,232 farmers at a cost of Sh3.1 billion,” NCPB data showed.

NCPB said 7,249 coffee farmers from Embu, Kericho, Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Machakos, Makueni, Meru, Murang’a, Nandi, Nyeri, TharakaNithi and Uasin Gishu counties redeemed 32,010 bags of coffee top dressing fertiliser for Sh112 million.”

(Edited by V. Graham)

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