The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries has kicked- off a sensitization workshop to 37 County Executive Committee (CEC) Members –in-charge of Agriculture together with their County Directors of Agriculture to sensitize them on the E-voucher programme.
The National Value Chain Support Program (NVSP) sensitization and briefing workshop is aimed at educating the CECs and CDAs on the E-voucher programme and seek their support in sensitization of farmers and other stakeholders for faster uptake of the subsidy initiative.
Principal Secretary State Department for Crop Development and Agricultural Research, Prof Hamadi Boga, said that the goal of NVSP is to increase the productivity of small holder farmers by supporting them with a wide range of subsidized inputs through an electronic based input management system (E-voucher input system).
According to Boga, the programme was launched with initial 12 pilot counties (two wards per county) and four value chain crops which include Irish potato, maize, rice and coffee and later expanded to additional 25 counties all of which will be beneficiaries by the long rain season of 2022 with an additional two value chains of green grams and sorghum.
“Within these counties, the programme has registered farmers in 2-4 wards. In order to achieve countrywide reach, NVSP has launched continuous farmer registration starting with three pilot counties of Meru, Nyandarua and Nandi,” added Boga.
The PS noted that a scaling up endeavor within all the 47 counties is currently underway to up the number of wards and their priority value chains.
He mentioned some of the major benefits of the E-voucher input subsidy which include; increasing productivity through affordable inputs hence fast tracking the implementation of the agenda 1 of the Big Four agendas of food security and nutrition.
He added that the e-voucher use has also broadened the range of inputs available to farmers to include basal and top-dressing fertilizers, lime, certified seeds, agro-chemicals currently and in future financial services and soil testing services.
Other benefits include growth of the micro and the small enterprises as they supply farmers with subsidized inputs, promotion of the use of genuine inputs, tracking of subsidy inputs use, building of national farmer profile and enhancing accuracy of the targeting mechanism.
The E-voucher redemption process begins with farmer registration which utilizes either private hired enumerators or the county extension staff. This captures the farmers’ bio-data and transmits it to the ministry servers in KARLO, Nairobi. Farmers and the county extension staff are then trained on the programme and appropriate applications in their phones. The system requires a 4G/5G sim card.
Voucher batches are then released by the NVSP secretariat; farmers receive messages that require them to be verified by the sub-county agricultural officers or their ward agricultural officers.
Upon verification, farmers then receive e-voucher messages bearing unique codes which they take to the Agro-dealers to begin the e-voucher redemption process.
The agro-dealers then input the special unique voucher codes in their systems that prompt the farmers to input their M-pesa pin. The system then automatically deducts 60% of the input cost, triggering a 40% top-up from the ministry’s till number. This sums up to 100% and is credited to the agro dealers till number in real time hence releasing the farmers’ merchandise.
By Chari Suche