, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 21 – The Treasury has released Sh2.7 billion towards the purchase of fertilisers for farmers ahead of the planting season.
According to Deputy President-elect William Ruto, the bulk of fertilisers will be available to farmers in the next one week.
He said that part of the fertiliser was already at the port of Mombasa and the rest will be delivered by Wednesday next week.
“The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) has had challenges in procurement of fertilisers due to the court matters that it is embroiled in but the government has made provision for the purchase of fertiliser this season,” Ruto said after a briefing with Finance Minister Njeru Githae.
Ruto who spoke at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) said that the Kenya Seed Company had also reduced its prices.
The subsidised prices of fertiliser ensures that it costs Sh2,500 per 50 kilogram bag. The price of maize seedling has also been reduced so that it costs Sh3,400 for a 25kg bag, down from the Sh4,500 effected last week.
“The prices of seed had gone up by 30 percent and the Ministry of Agriculture has negotiated so that it is reduced by 30 percent,” Ruto said.
He has urged farmers to prepare adequately for the planting season with the onset of rains to increase food production that went up by 10 percent in 2012.
“We are informed that up to 40 percent of the farmers have not prepared their farms; the state of preparations is inadequate. The elections are now behind us and farmers should get down to business,” he urged.
Ruto has assured all framers who are still owed by government for the sale of produce last year that they will be paid.
Earlier on Thursday, President Mwai Kibaki directed the Treasury to immediately release Sh3.34 billion to ensure that fertiliser and maize seedlings are available to farmers at affordable prices in order to help spur the country’s food security.
President Kibaki through the Head of Public Service Francis Kimemia said that he was concerned that the increase in prices of seedlings and fertiliser, compounded by unavailable and unaffordable fertiliser would compromise the nation’s food security.