, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 11 – Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri is on Monday expected before the National Assembly Committee on Agriculture and Livestock to explain measure he is taking following a delay in the supply of subsidised fertilizer for maize farming.
The Parliament’s Media Relations Department confirmed the appointment through a brief statement affirming “The National Assembly Committee on Agriculture and Livestock will today Monday 11th Feb 2019 be meeting with CS Agriculture at 2.30pm. Committee Room 7, Main Parliament Building.”
Committee Chairman Adan Haji led his members last week in summoning Kiunjuri and his National Treasury counterpart Henry Rotich as they warned of a major crisis because farmers were likely to miss the crucial farm input ahead of the March-April planting season.
“We are here today to avert a looming disaster ahead of the planting season. We are here to compel the National Treasury as well as Ministry of Agriculture to be able to start the process of procurement. They can use whatever means available to them, it should not be the farmers’ problem that is why we are here. We don’t want this cycle and the same old stories of the previous years to recur,” Haji stated.
Strategic Food Reserves Fund Chairman Noah Wekesa last week advised farmers to buy the fertilizer from the open market after Attorney General Kihara Kariuki objected to the Agriculture Ministry importing fertilizer through flawed procurement processes involving the firms contracted.
The two-year contract by the Ministry of Agriculture lapsed on January 12.
Committee vice-chair Emmanuel Wangwe expressed concerns that farmers will have to purchase the commodity at market prices of between Sh3,200 to Sh3,500 for a 50kg bag of Diammonium phosphate.
A similar bag is sold for Sh1,800 under the fertiliser subsidy programme.