, ELDORET, Kenya, Mar 27 – The government has warned its officers against colluding with middlemen to acquire and repackage subsidized fertilizer and selling it at a high price.
Deputy President William Ruto said such practice has been rampant in the past.
He spoke as the government started distributing two million bags of fertilizer and another half a million for top dressing.
Ruto said such unscrupulous business people working in cahoots with officers from the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) were engaged in the illicit trade.
Speaking when he made an impromptu visit to the Eldoret and Bungoma NCPB depots, Ruto said the fertiliser is solely meant to benefit farmers and it was not to be sold to businessmen.
“We don’t want to hear that the fertilizer we have brought to be sold to farmers at a low price is being sold by other people,” he warned.
The Deputy President revealed that the government has allocated Sh3.2 billion in the current financial year for fertiliser subsidies to boost food security.
“The subsidy wasn’t meant for brokers who have been a perennial nightmare in the agriculture sector. Sadly, some farmers who are the targeted beneficiaries are being bribed by middlemen who they help to get fertiliser from NCPB which they then repackage and resale to individuals very expensively,” Ruto said.
He said some of those involved illegally acquiring the commodity had been arrested in the past.
“County governments, farmers and NCPB should now work together and close all the loopholes these unscrupulous businessmen are using to get rich at the expense of genuine farmers,” he said.
In Mumias, Ruto said the rights issue will inject Sh3 billion into Mumias Sugar Company (MSC).
Ruto said this would ensure farmers and workers are paid promptly.
“We intend to raise Sh3bn to Sh4 billion on a rights issue so that we can turn around the fortunes of this company. The board is working on a plan, we want Mumias Sugar Company to succeed because its success touches thousands of Kenyans,” said Ruto.
He said the government also plans to intervene in cane development to ensure the miller operates at full capacity.
“Production at Mumias has increased from 350 to 450 tonnes a day. We hope to get back to 7,000 tonnes when this factory began. That is possible through cane development which is our next area of intervention,” he added.
The Deputy President was accompanied by MPs Benjamin Washiali, Bernard Shinali, Silas Tiren and Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago.