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June 1, 2023
Fertiliser Looming shortage News

Farmers feel the pinch of costly fertiliser and fuel

Fertiliser prices reached a record high of ShSh6,200 up from Sh3,000 per a 50kg bag in the open market.

Maize farmers have called on the Agriculture CS to intervene and help them get top dressing fertiliser.

Farmers in North Rift are currently top-dressing the long rains season maize crop and they say the fertiliser shortage experienced in the country may lead to low harvest.

In April 1, Agriculture CS Peter Munya announced the government would be providing a subsidy of 2.9 million bags of 50kg fertiliser to farmers.

The Sh5.7 billion fertiliser subsidy programme was aimed at bringing down the price of a 50kg bag of DAP fertiliser from Sh6,000 to Sh2,800.

CAN fertiliser will come down from Sh3,900 to Sh1,950, NPK will sell at Sh300 from Sh4,900, urea will go for Sh2,700 down from Sh6,500, while MOP will sell at Sh2,500 from Sh3,800.

Munya said the fertiliser subsidy will cushion farmers against high prices and support the cultivation of 1.13 million acres.

The NCPB was mandated to supply the fertiliser across the country and in May, Munya directed the board to allow farmers to get up to 20 bags of subsidised fertiliser from the previously approved 10 bags.

But Kimtai Kollum, a maize farmer from Uasin Gishu county, said there is a shortage of fertiliser at a time farmers are supposed to be top-dressing the long rains crop.

“Farmers have applied for the quantity of fertiliser they need as required by NCPB, but there has been a delay and we have to wait for almost two weeks to get the fertiliser,” he said.

Speaking to journalists, Kollum said farmers are running out of time because by now they should be top-dressing.

He said if the fertiliser is not provided immediately, this could affect production, which has already been compromised by the high cost of inputs.

NCPB corporate communications manager Titus Maiyo said there is a high demand for top-dressing fertiliser, and the commodity is moving fast.

“We are selling the fertiliser as soon as it is delivered to our stores. By the time a lorry-carrying fertiliser gets to the store, it is immediately bought by farmers,” Maiyo said.

He said a 50kg bag of top dressing subsidised fertiliser at NCPB is selling at Sh3,000 and so far, they have distributed 120,000 50kg bags of assorted fertiliser since the subsidy programme was launched.

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