, NJORO, Nakuru Feb 18 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced a reduction in prices of subsidised fertiliser to spur productivity and close the cycle of food shortages.
He said the cost of a 50 kilogram bag of DAP fertiliser will retail at Sh2,000 down from Sh2,480, NPR fertiliser at Sh2,000 down from Sh2,300; CAN at Sh1,500 instead of Sh1,600 while a 50 kilogram bag of Urea fertiliser will be sold at Sh1,500 instead of Sh1,800.
The President disclosed that 143,000 Metric Tonnes of fertiliser worth Sh7.2 billion has been purchased this year to be distributed countrywide under the Government’s fertiliser subsidy programme.
“We have begun to distribute the fertiliser well before the long rains, and in larger quantities than ever before. Farmers throughout the country will have the fertiliser in time, and at prices they can afford,” the President said.
He spoke at Egerton University in Njoro when launched the national soil test results and flagged-off distribution of subsidised fertiliser.
The President said the Government has established a Seed and Fertiliser Development Fund with an initial investment of Sh3 billion, which will gradually rise to Sh15 billion over the next five years to support the fertiliser programme.
“In time, the fertiliser subsidy will grow to cover every one of our high value crops – tea, coffee, pyrethrum and sugarcane among them. It would be far better if every shilling of our fertiliser subsidy created jobs for our youth,” the President said.
He said feasibility study for the establishment a fertiliser manufacturing plant in the country is also complete and plans are underway to implement its recommendations.
Apart from fertiliser subsidy and soil testing, the President said the Government is implementing the National Accelerated Agricultural Inputs Access Programme (NAAIAP), the Smallholder Horticulture Development Programme (SHDP), the Galana/Kulalu Food Security Project and exploiting fisheries resources to ensure the country is food secure.
“In time, this nation will enjoy the rich harvest it deserves. I urge you, then, to support the projects in any way you can,” the President said.
Noting that parts of the country have been affected by severe shortages of food and water, the President said he recently dispatched a convoy carrying food worth Sh186 million to parts of North Eastern, Coast and Rift Valley regions.
He said the Cabinet also approved Sh600 million for livestock drugs, vaccines and feeds to cushion pastoralists struck by drought.
“These measures, though important, are insufficient. We can no longer afford to deal with famine after it breaks out; we must now relinquish it to our past. Sustained agricultural growth means higher living standards; it means far quicker rapid economic growth; it means that no Kenyan will go to bed hungry,” he said.
In line with its manifesto, President Kenyatta said the Jubilee Government will revolutionise agriculture and move the country from subsistence to agro-enterprise to employ and empower Kenyans.
He said the Ministry of Agriculture undertook soil sampling and testing across the country to establish how best to maintain fertility of each ecological zone so that farmers could be given advice tailored to their needs and location.
“Now that we have a clear idea of the nature of our soils, we can begin to implement our long-term soil-health improvement strategy. Of course, the results will also be useful in the immediate future: we are now in a much better position to recommend quality fertilisers right across the country,” the President said.
Deputy President William Ruto said the launch of subsidised fertiliser was a clear testimony that the Government’s determination to transform the economy and achieve food sufficiency was on course.
“Today’s function is part and parcel of our grand plan to transform the country. It is one of the milestones of the Jubilee administration’s endeavour to achieve food sufficiency in the country and grow the economy by double digits,” he said.
The Deputy President, who was accompanied by his wife Rachel, said Kenyans were beginning to see the fruits of the projects the Government is rolling out.
However, the DP said the much anticipated transformation will only be realised if Kenyans ensure corruption and inefficiency are eliminated.
“I ask all Kenyans, both in Government and NGOs, to ensure corruption does not undermine our efforts to change this country,” the Deputy President said, adding: “all of us must work in tandem to eliminate all manner of inefficiency and corruption to transform our economy.”
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Felix Kosgey said the National Accelerated Agricultural Inputs Access Programme has invested Sh4.2 billion in providing farm inputs to vulnerable farmers. He said the ministry has embraced bulk fertiliser procurement programme to stabilize prices.