, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 21 – President Mwai Kibaki has directed the Treasury to immediately release Sh3.34 billion to ensure that fertilizer and maize seedlings are available to farmers at affordable prices in order to help spur the country’s food security.
A statement from the Head of Public Service Francis Kimemia explained that the president was concerned that the increase in prices of seedlings and fertilizer, compounded by unavailable and unaffordable fertilizer would compromise the nation’s food security.
He directed the Treasury to subsidise the price of fertilizer so that it costs between Sh2,500 and Sh4,500 per 50 kilogram bag as well as further reducing the price of maize seedlings so it costs between Sh3,400 for a 25kg bag, down from the Sh4,500 effected last week.
Kibaki explained that the food security issue has been compounded by the fact that over 50 percent of farmers are behind schedule, which could lead to a serious food deficit.
He further directed officials and extension staff of the Ministry of Agriculture and the provincial administration to move with speed and mobilise farmers to prepare land and purchase modern inputs in readiness for the planting season now at hand.
The Head of State further urged farmers to take advantage of the intervention measures by preparing land, buying modern inputs and applying modern farming techniques to ensure that the country has enough food.
He voiced concern over the artificial challenge of fertilizer which he said has become an annual ritual and directed that the ongoing modalities for the construction of a fertilizer factory in Kenya must be fast tracked without delay to ensure sustainable food security in the region.