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Boost for tea farmers as KTDA imports fertiliser

Small-scale tea farmers will get subsidised fertilisers after the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) received 47,800 tonnes (956,000 of 50kg bags) of fertiliser for the distribution of over 650,000 smallholder tea farmers across the country.

Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture and Livestock Development Mithika Linturi flags off 47,800 tonnes of fertilizer for distribution to over 65,000 smallholder tea farmers at the Port of Mombasa. Photo by  Andrew Hinga

The ship for the fertiliser consignment docked at the port of Mombasa on Monday ahead of the offloading and subsequent distribution process, which was done today by Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture and Livestock Development Mithika Linturi.

Linturi, who flagged off the shipment to upcountry, said that the government has plans to increase harvests this year, thus the move to provide fertiliser to farmers across the country.

He said the overall consumption of fertiliser by farmers is over 95,000 metric tonnes, and there are two ships to dock in the country, one of which has arrived and the other to come in two weeks.

He said from now on up to November, farmers will be able to receive enough fertiliser for application on their tea farms.

“This is timely as the rains have just set in, and the application of fertiliser at the right time has a serious bearing on production. We are pleading with the farmers to double their efforts and pick the fertilisers on time so that we can boost our production this year,” he said.

He noted that, going by the current trade, farmers will be able to produce more kilos of green leaves and deliver more earnings.

He added that the government is currently working on tea reforms, in which they will come up with legal policies and administrative mechanisms so that farmers get the best out of what they do.

“The government continually tries to support KTDA and farmers so that they get fertilisers at affordable prices. When we started the subsidy programme to support our farmers, the 50-kg bag was going for Sh. 3500 last year, and the government had to make sure it goes down as we are now selling fertiliser at Sh. 2500,” he said.

The CS asked farmers to take advantage of the subsidies provided by the government to ensure increased food production in the country and increased productivity.

Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture and Livestock Development Mithika Linturi briefs the media when he flagged off 47,800 tonnes of fertilizer for distribution to over 65,000 smallholder tea farmers at the Port of Mombasa. Photo by  Andrew Hinga

He said there are several programmes that the government has put in place to add value, and that all the value chains that they focused on are on course.

He said they have also agreed on working with relevant stakeholders to be able to provide resources to do common user facilities that will add value to the tea so that farmers are able to sell finished products.

He said the government is also prioritising supporting KTDA and farmers’ factories to install processing lines that will be able to produce orthodox tea.

“Worldwide, orthodox tea is fetching high premium prices, thus calling for investment on that line so that across the country there are many factories, which will in turn translate to good pricing for tea farmers,” he said.

By Chari Suche

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