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Gov’t avails Sh3.55billion to curb high fertilizer cost

The Government has availed Sh3.55 billion to subsidise 1.42 million bags of fertilizer in the current short rains season.

The Ministry of Agriculture yesterday announced that plans have been initiated to implement the President William Ruto’s directive of ensuring farmers benefit from subsidised farm inputs.

In a press statement sent to the media houses, Principal Secretary, State department for Crop Development and Agricultural Research Dr. Francis Owino explained the subsided farm inputs will help to tame the high cost of production and thus enhance agricultural production and guarantee food security for the population.

Owino said to actualize the presidential directive, the ministry has published new prices of various categories of fertilizers, majority of which have been reduced to by more than 50 percent from the current prices.

For example, he said DAP, CAN and UREA shall cost shall cost Sh3, 500, Sh2, 875 and Sh3, 500 respectively whereas NPK (Sh3, 275) MOP (Sh1, 775) and Sulphate of Ammonia (Sh2, 220) per 50 kg bag.

To ensure efficient delivery and effective control mechanisms are in place, the PS noted that the fertilizers will be available in the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) Depots and sub-depots countrywide, effective September 20, 2022.

“To actualize the presidential directive, the subsidized fertilizer programme will start with counties undertaking planting during the short rains season of 2022. The Government has availed Sh. 3.55billion to subsidize 71,000 Mt (1.42 million x 50 Kg bags) of fertilizer for growing food crops during the short rains season. This quantity will support cultivation of approximately 1.4 million acres,” said Dr. Owino.

He further noted that to avail 1.42 million bags of fertilizer to farmers at a maximum subsidized price of Sh3500 pre 50kg bag from the current price of up to Sh6500, the subsidized fertilizer programme will start with counties undertaking planting during the short rains season of 2022.

Owino said individual farmers will be entitled to a maximum of 100 x 50 kg bags of fertilizers.

The measure, he noted, is predicated on recognition of high agricultural productivity as one of the key drivers to achieving 100 percent national food and nutrition security.

Owino said fertilizers replenish the nutrients that crops extract from the soil, guaranteeing soil fertility for sustained and improved agricultural productivity.  He stated that it is estimated that if used well, fertilizer use can increase food and cash crop yields by up to 50 percent.

However, the PS noted that access to agricultural fertilizers has in the recent past been threatened by the spikes in fertilizer prices occasioned by global phenomena including the Covid -19 pandemic and the Russia -Ukraine conflict.

He further noted that in the past 12 months, the high fertilizer prices have risen to levels that have affected both large- and small-scale farmers. “I appeal to farmers requiring fertilizers in the short rains dependent areas to visit the nearest NCPB depot or sub-depot to access the subsidized fertilizer,” said the PS.

By Catherine Muindi

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