The Government has introduced an E-voucher programme in an effort of helping farmers to get subsidized farm inputs.
The Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS), Peter Munya has said farmers will be issued with smart cards with which they can be able to access farm inputs at subsidized prices.
Speaking when he visited Murang’a on Thursday, June 11, 2020, the CS noted that with the E-voucher programme the farmers will be able to pay only 70 percent of the selling price of the farm inputs.
The programme, he noted is being piloted with maize farmers in Makueni county and the progress is good.
Munya observed that his ministry will create a database for farmers countrywide, including livestock farmers, to help them benefit from the programme.
“Among the beneficiaries will be coffee farmers who for long have been struggling to access cheap farm inputs to increase their production,” Munya told officials drawn from various coffee societies in Murang’a.
He explained that through the programme, farmers will go to dealers willing to work with the government and who will be issued with Point of Sale (POS) devices for transactions. The agro-vets will later claim their dues from the government.
“A farmer will only have to walk into one of the agro-vet shops that will agree to participate in the programme and present the card. They will only pay 70 percent of the costs while the government will pay the remaining 30 percent.
“Once a card is used, it will send a signal to the Ministry that will enable the agro-vet owner to be paid,” he pointed out.
He said the government now wants to deal directly with farmers to provide them with cheap, high-quality inputs through outlets in their areas.
The programme is aimed at addressing key constraints in production, post-harvest management, processing, and marketing of the targeted commodities.
Meanwhile, Munya said that the government through his ministry is in the process of improving and modernizing the infrastructure in all the 156 coffee factories.
The government, he added, plans to modernize the drying process and install a fermentation tank with ceramic tiles.
“Dry popping machine will be installed and weighing machines digitalized. Plans are also at an advanced level to digitalize all the 44 societies. However, it should be known that priority will be given to well-managed coffee factories,” he further stated.
By Bernard Munyao