65,000 TONNES OF FERTILISER

Fertiliser for smallholder tea farmers arrives in Mombasa

A local tender to supply an additional 21,000 tonnes of fertilizer has been issued.

In Summary

• The supply of this year’s fertilizer follows the floating of a competitive international tender early in the year.

• KTDA has ensured fast, cost-effective and convenient delivery to all registered smallholder farmers with arrangements having been made with transporters to move the commodity to factories straight from the port.

Farmers pick tea leaves in Othaya in Nyeri County
Farmers pick tea leaves in Othaya in Nyeri County
Image: EUTYCAS MUCHIRI

Approximately 65,000 tonnes of fertilizer imported by the Kenya Tea Development Agency Management Services Limited for smallholder farmers in the country, has landed at the port of Mombasa, awaiting packaging and distribution.

The NPK 26:5:5 chemically compounded fertilizer was procured directly from two international companies, Ameropa AG of Romania and Indagro SA of Switzerland, at a total cost Sh2.9 billion ($29 million) (C&F Mombasa). 

The cost of fertiliser has been negatively impacted by the rising cost of natural gas (a key component in the manufacture of NPK chemically compounded fertiliser), unfavourable exchange rates, global supply constraints, high crude oil costs and the cost of shipment among other factors.

The final cost of a 50kg bag of fertilizer will be determined once clearing and transport costs to respective tea factories across the country as well as marine and overland insurance costs have been factored in. 

The supply of this year’s fertilizer follows the floating of a competitive international tender early in the year. 

A local tender to supply an additional 21,000 tonnes of fertilizer has been issued to satisfy the unmet demand of the commodity.

Application of fertiliser to tea bushes at the outset of short rains is necessary to ensure consistent high quality and quantity of green leaf essential for premium tea production.

KTDA has ensured fast, cost-effective and convenient delivery to all registered smallholder farmers with arrangements having been made with transporters to move the commodity to factories straight from the port.

Last year, the agency did not procure fertilizer for smallholder farmers as a result of logistical challenges presented by the then-emerging COVID-19 pandemic.

KTDA procures fertilizer in bulk for more than 630,000 small scale tea farmers, who are the shareholders of its managed factories, through competitive bidding.

The fertiliser is distributed to the farmers through their respective factory companies.

This arrangement enables small scale tea farmers to access high-quality fertiliser at the most competitive price and in a reliable manner.

The KTDA fertilizer credit scheme enables farmers to pay in instalments for the fertiliser they have ordered for use on their farms.

These payments are made over several months to ease the farmer’s burden on the purchase of fertilizer which is a major input cost in tea farming.

KTDA Holdings chairman David Ichoho noted that his board has been engaging the government with a view of getting a subsidy for the fertiliser for the farmers.

Ichoho is also hopeful that the government will favourably consider this request which will alternately enable affordable fertiliser.