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December 17, 2017

Cheap fertiliser sale on hold as state probes graft, middlemen

CS for agriculture Willy Bett (C) Uasin Gishu County Commissioner Abdi Hassan and Moben MP Sila Tiren (R) grilling NCPB officials over diversion of subsidized fertilizer in Eldoret on March 28 last year. Photo/Mathews Ndanyi
CS for agriculture Willy Bett (C) Uasin Gishu County Commissioner Abdi Hassan and Moben MP Sila Tiren (R) grilling NCPB officials over diversion of subsidized fertilizer in Eldoret on March 28 last year. Photo/Mathews Ndanyi

The government has suspended the sale of subsidised fertiliser at NCPB depots in the North Rift because of graft and diversion to middlemen.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett said on Saturday investigations will establish if fertiliser is being sold to non-farmers who then sell to farmers at a higher price.

The suspension will last two weeks.

Anyone found to be colluding with middlemen will be punished, the CS said.

“We have suspended the sale of fertiliser for about two weeks. We suspect some people who are not farmers are buying fertiliser in huge quantities,” Bett said.

Only registered farmers are entitled to subsidised fertiliser.

They must prove the acreage of their land.

There is suspicion some traders are buying fertiliser to repackage and sell at higher prices when demand shoots up in January before the planting season.

Bett told farmers to stop selling maize at throwaway prices. NCPB is buying a 90kg bag of maize at Sh3,200.

Many farmers are selling their maize to middlemen at less than Sh2,400 per 90kg bag.

Yesterday, the government started paying farmers Sh600 million for maize delivered at the Rift Valley and Western Kenya NCBP depots.

Money has been set aside to buy 1.6 million bags of maize from farmers, the CS said.

Bett said the state has scrapped charges for drying maize at the NCBP.

The CS said although bad weather and invasion by worms caused a 20 per cent drop in maize production, the country has enough stock to last until the next season.

 

 

 

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