NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 26 – Smallholder tea farmers will this year buy a bag of 50kg of NPK fertilizer at an average price of Sh1,492, a reduction of 35 percent compared to last year.
Kenya Tea Development Agency Management CEO Lerionka Tiampati says this is the lowest that the farmers have paid for fertilizer in the last seven years.
The drop has been attributed to competitive sourcing of the fertilizer; by Kenya Tea Development Agency Management Services on behalf of the over 560,000 farmers who deliver tea to KTDA managed factories.
“Compared to the current market price of about Sh2800 for a similar product, tea farmers this year will enjoy significantly lower fertilizer prices which is almost half of the current the market rate. Last year small holder tea farmers paid Sh2,300, for a bag of 50kgs NPK fertilizer,” Tiampati said.
The dropping fertilizer price is also partially attributed to the decline in the global commodity prices of products such as crude oil and natural gas which are some of key components in the manufacture of fertilizer.
Tiampati says the fertilizer was sourced from Russia through a competitive procurement process.
The final price of the fertilizer to the farmers also include costs such as clearing and forwarding, financing, handling and port charges, and transportation.
This year, KTDA imported 74, 800 metric tons of fertilizer, valued at Sh2.2 billion, on behalf of more than 560, 000 smallholder tea farmers.
“Applying fertilizer to tea bushes bolsters tea production and increases the quality of green leaf. Application of fertilizer at the onset of the short rains is necessary to ensure consistent high quality and quantity of tea,” he added.
The quantity of fertilizer a farmer receives depends on the number of tea bushes owned. On average, a 50kg bag of fertilizer is applied to 700 bushes.
The fertilizer requirement is usually determined in November and December ahead of fertilizer procurement the following year.