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Uasin Gishu receives 2m bags of subsidized fertilizer

Farmers in Uasin Gishu County are set to receive 2 million bags of subsidised fertilizer under the National Fertilizer Subsidy Programme (NFSP) as they prepare for the long rain planting season this year.

Speaking during the launch of the distribution exercise at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depot in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu, Senior Deputy Secretary, State Department for Agriculture Badu Sora Katelo said the launch marked the beginning of the distribution of 2 million bags of fertilizers for the county.

He explained that the 2 million bags were planting fertilizers and that they would later distribute another 1.5 million for top dressing.

“Last year, we did a similar project and this time round, we are going to increase the number of bags to meet the demand of our farmers to enable them to produce more food,” he said.

Noting that agriculture is one of the government’s top priority agendas in terms of increasing food production in the country, Katelo indicated that they were beginning with the distribution of quality seeds and certified fertilizers.

“We are distributing quality seeds. One of the biggest problems is fake seeds and this time round, we are urging farmers to buy quality seeds from the Kenya Seed Company,” noted Katelo.

The Senior Deputy Secretary called on farmers to prepare their farms very well by using all the good farming practices like applying fertilizers in the right way to enhance production.

He hinted that the government is keen to cushion farmers from post-harvest losses through the distribution of driers, to ensure maize is dried at a certain moisture content to enable it to last long without getting problems like aflatoxin.

“We urge our farmers to plant, take care of their farms to produce enough food and that will enable us to reduce the cost of living in Kenya and also put money in farmers’ pockets,” he added.

Katelo issued a stern warning and vowed to root out any cartels purporting to disrupt the farmers in the programme.

He urged farmers to report any suspicious case to the concerned authorities for immediate action.

“If you see any of the cartels who are going around and don’t have farms and want to buy your fertilizer, please relay the same information to the County Commissioner. We are going to arrest all the cartels and ensure that they are not getting into this system and we are doing this all over the country,” he alluded.

He further noted that their team from the national government is working closely with the county government and all security agencies to ensure that there are no fake seeds or any monkey business when distributing these fertilizers.

In his remarks, Uasin Gishu Deputy Governor Eng. John Barorot assured farmers of the county’s support as they prepare for this year’s planting season, through the opening up of fertilizer distribution centres, especially for the small-scale farmers across the county.

“As a county, working together with the NCPB. We are prepared by opening our fertilizer distribution centres, especially for the smaller farmers who consume 20 bags and below. We have centres in Moiben, Soy, Kesses and Kapseret. We are bringing the distribution centres closer to the people to enhance access to the subsidized fertilizers,” he said.

Noting that the county had an increase in maize production last year, the Deputy Governor urged the farmers to prepare their land early enough and then apply lime to reduce the acidity level in the soil before planting.

“We need to start because most of our planting is mechanized here in Uasin Gishu. I want to urge all people with planters to make sure you calibrate your planters such that after taking a good seed maize you get a good population of maize per acre. Most of us have always had 18000 seedlings in an acre, we need to have more than 18000 seedlings of maize per acre,” said Eng. Barorot.

“Now that we have enough fertilizer, apply 2 bags of fertilizer and then do top dressing twice if you have a small farm, and for the large farms you can do once,” he advised.

Farmers lauded the initiative by the national government that had enabled them to acquire fertilizers cheaply and get bumper harvests from their farms.

Daniel Mburu farmer from Simat location, Kapseret Sub County, Uasin Gishu, expressed his gratitude to the government over NFSP as he urged other farmers who failed to register to move with speed to register to receive the fertilizers to increase their farm produce to help increase food production in the country.

On his part, Albert Rono, a farmer from Elgeyo Marakwet appreciated the government and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector for the subsidized fertilizers.

He urged the government to consider adjusting the 30-day expiry period for the e-voucher, noting that some of them failed to catch up with the period due to other domestic activities.

“We do not know what will happen after the lapse of the 30 days, we are requesting it be increased to even 45 days or more because we have other activities like taking children to school, preparing the farms and among others,” he said.

By Ekuwam Sylvester

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