THE government will spent Sh2 billion to import 50,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser for the next planting season. The National Cereals and Produce Board has advertised tenders for the purchase of the fertiliser.
Evans Wasike the NCPB spokesman said the board will import 25,000 metric tonnes of DAP fertiliser for planting and a similar quantity of CAN fertiliser for top-dressing.
"We have already started the importation process so that we get the fertiliser the farmers require well ahead of the planting season," said Wasike.
He said the importation will be in addition to the 800,000 bags of fertiliser that are already at the NCPB depots. "Our plan is to ensure we sustain high food production by supporting farmers through the supply of fertiliser at subsidised prices," said the spokesman.
The board has reduced the prices of fertiliser to help farmers cut the cost of food production. A 50Kg bag of DAP fertiliser that has been selling at Sh2,500 is selling at Sh2,480 at the NCPB.
The managing director Gideon Misoi said the reduction will also help farmers meet transportation costs. Top-dressing CAN fertiliser has been selling at Sh1,500 for a 50Kg bag down from Sh1,600.
Misoi said the fertiliser is for use by farmers all over the country. "This year, we did well because there has been no importation of food," said Misoi. "We are hoping next year will also be a good year. We will supporting the farmers so that they produce more."
The Kenya Farmers Association director Kipkorir Menjo praised the NCPB's strategy. "Such moves will definitely impact positively on food production and that's why we have been pushing the government to allocate enough money to the NCPB," said Menjo.
This year the board estimates that more than 40 million bags of maize will be harvested. It has already opened its depots to buy maize from farmers.
Menjo said KFA hopes NCPB will maintain the low prices of fertiliser and other farm inputs to allow more people engage in farming. "We are asking the government to invest more in the agriculture and streamline the policies," said Menjo. We need to produce more for local consumption and even for export."