The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) has increased subsidised fertilizer to the North Rift region following farmers’ outcry over shortages and high prices.
“We received complaints from farmers over the shortages but we have taken measures to move more quantities to the region. Much more is being taken to the depots this week to try cover for the deficit,” NCPB Communications Manager Titus Maiyo said.
He indicated other regions do not need the input at the moment as much as the North Rift where farmers were currently planting.
“These fertilizers are part of the NCPB stocks, which it had bought for commercial sale to farmers but have so far been subsidised,” explained Maiyo.
The board has been grappling with a shortage in North Rift, an issue likely to impact on production owing to delayed planting.
“We are now moving the fertilizer from other depots where it is not in high demand to meet the current deficit in supply,” Maiyo said.
The board has so far distributed over 12,000 bags of fertilizer to a number of depots in the North Rift between Saturday and Wednesday.
The board is also getting additional bags of the commodity from suppliers who had stocked in Mombasa.
Last week, farmers raised concerns over the shortage of subsidised fertilizer with the NCPB putting the blame squarely on suppliers.
“We are relying on suppliers’ goodwill to get the stocks that we need to sell to farmers. What we get is what we sell. We do not have control over the number of bags that we get,” said an official at the NCPB.
The government has set aside Sh5.7 billion to subsidise 2,280,000 bags of 50kg bags of fertilizer to enable farmers grow sufficient food crops.
These quantities will support the cultivation of 1.13 million acres of farm land with farmers paying Sh2, 800 per bag from a high of Sh6, 200 at the market.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya had previously told Parliament in March that his ministry needed at least Sh31.8 billion to effectively offer the subsidy to farmers.
The CS said should the ministry get the Sh31 billion, the price of the planting fertilizer (Diamonium Phosphate) would drop to Sh2,800.
Fertilizer for maize farmers was not included in the current budget, however, other crops such as coffee and tea received Sh1 billion each with sugar getting Sh1.5 billion.
Some of the firms supplying NCPB with the fertilizer include Maisha Minerals, the dealers of Mavuno brand, Minjingu Mines, Fanisi and OCP Kenya.