MERU, October 19 – The government has supplied fertiliser worth Sh396 million to be sold to farmers in Central, Eastern and South Rift regions at a subsidised rate.
Speaking in Meru when he received 5,400 tonnes of fertiliser for the upper eastern region, Agriculture Assistant Minister Japheth Kareke Mbiuki said the fertiliser will only be sold to genuine farmers.
He said the fertiliser would be distributed by the National Cereals and Produce Board and supplied to divisional headquarters upon the authorisation of the local extension officers.
“We want to ensure that traders don’t buy it and then exploit farmers. The days of fertiliser cartels have ended,” he said.
Mr Mbiuki said the fertiliser will be sold at 60 percent of the normal retail price, and added that the funds from the fertiliser would form a revolving fund to ensure farmers bought the commodity at a cheap price.
He said a bag of CAN (Calcium Ammonium Nitrite) would cost at Sh1700 while that of DAP (Di-Ammonium Phosphate) would go for about Sh4, 000.
Mr Mbiuki said the fertiliser was sourced locally as an emergency intervention to farmers in the region after the ministry delayed to order a Sh11.5 billion worth of fertiliser promised to be supplied before the short rains started.
He added that plans to set up a Sh5 billion fertiliser factory were at an advanced stage and the facility would be operational by 2010.
Mr Mbiuki said the factory would be built through a joint venture between the government and the private sector and that the Sh11.5 billion consignment would be available by mid-November for sale to coffee and tea farmers.
Speaking at the same venue, Tharaka MP Mburi Muiru urged the government to sensitise farmers on need to embrace traditional food crops instead of relying solely on maize.
He said a move to boost sorghum, millet, cassava and other traditional crops would enhance food security.