ELDORET, Kenya, March 5 -The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war may have serious ramifications for cereal farming in Kenya due to the projected increase in the cost of planting fertilizer.
Due to the prevailing situation, cereal farmers in the Rift Valley region have been advised to brace for hard times ahead of the planting season since the cost of fertilizer is anticipated to continue rising.
Farm input distributors in Uasin Gishu announced plans to increase the price of fertilizer blaming the painful move on the diplomatic row pitting Ukraine and Russia.
The distributors warned that farmers need to prepare for a sharp increase in the price of fertilizer by mid-March, noting that their business has also been hit hard by the war between the two states.
The distributors spoke, Friday, during a stakeholders meeting of maize and wheat farmers drawn from the region hosted by Yara East Africa at an Eldoret hotel in Uasin Gishu County.
The DAP planting fertilizer and topdressing CAN preferred by farmers in the region, will be the most affected according to the distributors.
“ The price of DAP that is currently retailing at Sh.5, 500 is expected to increase to Sh. 6,200 per 50kg while CAN’s current Sh. 3,600 price per 50kg bag is expected to shoot to Sh. 4,000, says a distributor,” Beatrice Maraba of Maraba Investment.
During the last planting season, DAP sold at a maximum of Sh. 3,600 per 50kg bag while CAN retailed at Sh. 3,200.
“We have been alerted by our suppliers of farm input of changes in the prices of the farm input and that is why we have been forced to push the cost to the farmers,” said Ms. Maraba.
She faulted the government for not coming to the rescue of distributors and suppliers in a move to save hundreds of farmers from the skyrocketing prices of farm inputs.
“It is the duty of the National and County government to step in by ensuring the farm input is subsidized, to enable more farmers to go back to the farm, during the planting season from mid-March to April,” she said.
The high cost of farm inputs is also expected to affect the food security of this country unless the government moves in to subsidize, she warned.
A section of the farmers from the region said they will be forced to reduce the land under maize and wheat crops if the situation will not improve soon.
Ezekiel Kiprop, a maize farmer from Sergoit in Moiben Sub-county said most farmers will not manage to purchase the fertilizer owing to the exorbitant cost by distributors.
“Most of the maize farming community will now resort to planting only enough for their families and convert the rest of their farms to other uses,” said Kiprop.