The government will take stern action against unscrupulous individuals stealing subsidized fertilizers to repackage and resell it to make quick money.
The government has also put on notice cartels who register as farmers with intention of reselling the commodity at higher prices.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi warned that such unscrupulous businessmen and women will be crushed by the government.
Speaking at Kapenguria National Cereals and Produce Board NCPB depot during inspection of distribution of subsidised fertiliser, the CS said those involved in the business will be dealt with by the law adding that the government has mounted a crackdown to eliminate the vice.
Linturi said the subsidized fertilizers are meant to help Kenyan farmers to increase production and reduce the high cost of living which has been agitating wananchi.
“Such cartels are criminals like the bandits we are dealing with in Kerio Valley. It is not acceptable to overcharge farmers when the government is cushioning them to help boost food security by lowering the cost of production,” reiterated Linturi.
He said the government will only release the subsidized fertilizer to genuine farmers who were captured in the registration exercise conducted.
“The Ministry is also digitizing farmers’ records to avoid cases of double registration of farmers who have land in different counties through working closely with County governments to deliver the subsidized fertilizer closer to farmers,” the agriculture CS stated.
He noted that the Kenya Kwanza government is keen on improving food security in the country through subsidy programmes and so far the 8,000 people had been employed during the programme.
West Pokot Governor Simon Kachapin called on the National Government to allocate more funds to agriculture which is the bedrock of the country’s economy.
“We need to establish irrigation projects in the semi-arid zones since a huge portion of our county is characterized by the same,” he said.
He hinted that through partnership with the National government, farmers will be able to produce food at a lower cost through fertilizer and seed provision incentives.
Governor Kachapin called on the national government to open cereal boards in far flung areas like Sigor and Kacheliba to enable farmers to access fertilizer and maize seeds.
Farmers had decried over the unsteady supply of the fertilisers with some noting that they have to spend several nights at Kapenguria Town for them to have access to the commodity.
“We are happy with the supply of the timely supply of the subsidized fertilizer in our region but the major undoing is that we only have one depot to serve the expansive county. There is also under-staffing at the depot which makes us experience long delays,” said Augustine Psinen, a farmer.
Psinen appealed to the NCPB to consider establishing more depots to serve farmers from far-flung areas of the vast county together with hiring more staff to fast track the sales of the fertilizer.
By Richard Muhambe and Anthony Melly