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Governor assures farmers of sufficient subsidized fertilizers

Uasin Gishu Governor Dr. Jonathan Chelilim has urged farmers to exercise patience as the government is working around the clock to ensure they receive subsidized fertilizers on time.

He called on them to keenly follow the directives given by the Ministry of Agriculture through the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) in terms of registration to ensure everyone receives enough bags of fertilizers according to the size of their farms.

Additionally, he attributed the delay in the distribution of fertilizers to suppliers whom he claimed do not avail the crucial requirement for farming to NCPB silos on time.

The governor was speaking to farmers during his visit to NCPB Eldoret Depot to assess the distribution exercise amid public concerns that the exercise had not been executed effectively this season coupled with delays and long queues by farmers.

He noted that the county aims to achieve the last mile distribution ensuring farmers’ cooperative stores are fully equipped with fertilizers on time since it is the planting season in the region.

“Currently, we are doing our best to ensure farmers’ cooperatives are getting these fertilizers on time. Therefore, we have disseminated some fertilizers to specific cooperatives like Baratet in Kesses, Marathon in Kapseret, Soy Mateny in Soy ward and Tarakwa in Kipsomba ward. We are hoping that from next week farmers will begin their planting season,” he said.

Additionally, Dr. Chelilim noted that the government has supplied different types of fertilizers under the subsidy programme like Yara, Fomi, Mavuno planting and OCP. The fertilizers vary in prices and farmers could choose what was affordable to them.

He acknowledged that the supply and distribution of the fertilizers has experienced some delays.

“Normally, we need about 450,000 bags of fertilizers but so far we have distributed about 50000 bags. The government is doing everything possible to ensure we address the deficit so that farmers get enough fertilizers before it is late as the planting season has begun,” noted the governor.

“The main challenge that has caused this is transporters and suppliers who are taking a long time to get to the Cereals’ Board. We therefore call upon suppliers to prepare themselves and do the supply on time as farmers heavily rely on weather and time,” he added.

North Rift NCPB Regional Manager Gilbert Rotich affirmed that the government signed a contract with suppliers of one million bags of OCP fertilizers, noting that initially, the fertilizers available at the Cereals’ Board included Fomi, Ortega and Mavuno planting.

“Apart from the initial fertilizers that we had, the government has introduced OCP and since Saturday, lorries carrying the OCP fertilizers have begun arriving at the Cereals’ Board,” he said.

He indicated that the OCP fertilizers would be majorly distributed in the North Rift Region across the cooperative centres. He called upon farmers in the region not to be worried as fertilizers would be evenly distributed.

The Regional Manager dismissed claims of alleged bribery cases among the employees of NCPB where it was claimed farmers had to part with money in order to be served first.

He urged farmers to incorporate the whistleblowing mechanisms to ensure no suspicious activity continued as they collected the fertilizers. He added that investigation has been launched and in case any are found guilty, disciplinary action would be taken against them.

In his remarks, Uasin Gishu Agriculture Chief officer Elphas Kesio explained that farmers who did not receive the exact number of bags they registered did not update their details through short code *616*3#.

He assured them that they needed to update their details through the short code so that agricultural officers would pay visits to their farms to update their details to enable them to get the exact amount of fertilizers corresponding to the size of their farms.

“Farmers are urged to register themselves with the e-voucher system so as to access the fertilizer by dialling *616*3#. If you dial that code, our officers will visit your farms to acertain the correct number of bags of fertilizersyou need,” he said.

He confirmed that about 14000 farmers had dialled the code, 6000 of them had a problem as they received less bags of fertilizers out of what they had applied for and the remaining 8000 did not register through the short code.

Kesio further assured farmers that they wouldcomplete the exercise in two weeks time as officers would visit individual farmers at their homes to register them through the code and at the same time confirming their details as per the original NGAOs list.

By Angela Silayo and Ekuwam Sylvester

 

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