The Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS), Mwangi Kiunjuri has assured farmers that the remaining 300,000 bags of fertilizer for planting that had not been distributed, will be ready for collection by end of next week.
The government has already purchased 900,000 bags, which has been distributed to the farmers and the remaining is currently being transported to designated stores, he added.
Speaking on Friday afternoon on the distribution of subsidized fertilizer, Kiunjuri said government has ensured that farmers realize the benefits of their produce by procuring 2,314,000 bags of 50 kg fertilizer.
“Out of this, 1.2 million bags worth Sh.7 billion is meant for planting and we have also reduced the cost of the fertilizer from Sh. 1,800 to Sh. 1,500 in order to reduce the cost of production and increase the profit margins,” he said.
Kiunjuri however, termed as “unfortunate” unscrupulous individuals and traders who have taken advantage of the gaps in the vetting process to access government fertilizer. ”We are putting in place adequate measures to seal the loopholes and the ministry has put in place painful measures to deal with the unscrupulous individuals,” the CS said.
He noted that the government has intensified frequent surveillance and monitoring across the country and security teams have been put on high alert.
The CS directed the Cereals board to ensure that the Subsidy Fertilizer Disbursement Guidelines are complied with fully. “In the future, fertilizer will be procured early to enable farmers collect as they deliver maize,” he said, adding that they are encouraging farmers to form cooperatives so that fertilizer can be delivered directly to them.
Kiunjuri also put on notice staff found colluding with the unscrupulous traders, saying due process will be applied, saying transferring them to other work stations will not be an option.
There are various issues that have emerged regarding distribution of fertilizer, Kiunjuri confirme, but assured that his ministry is on top of things and looking at all angles to ensure farmers do no suffer
For the last two weeks, farmers across the country have been complaining, since the fertilizer had not reached their nearest depots even as planting season nears. Kenya introduced its national fertilizer subsidy in 2009, in line with its Vision 2030.
By Wangari Ndirangu