14 January 2013

Kenya: Sh2 Billion Fertiliser to Arrive in February

Fertiliser worth more than Sh2 Billion will arrive in the country by next month ahead of the planting season.

The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) is in the process of importing the more than 1 million bags of manure for farmers for this year's planting season.

NCPB spokesman Evans Wasike says the fertiliser will be added to another 800,000 bags of DAP fertiliser that is at the board's depots.

Wasike said the Sh2 Billion consignment will be adequate for farmers."We want to ensure adequate supplies in our stores ahead of the planting season," Wasike told The Star on phone yesterday.

Some large-scale farmers in North Rift region have started buying the fertiliser from NCPB stores and Wasike said the move will help ease congestion at depots when the planting season starts.

The board is selling DAP fertiliser at a subsidised price of Sh2,500 per 50-kg bag and Sh1,500 of the same quantity of CAN fertiliser that is used for top dressing.

Majority of farmers in the region have not yet sold much of the 40 million bags of last season's maize harvest. NCPB has so far bought only 600,000 bags using the Sh1.6 Billion released by the Government under the Strategic Grain Reserves.

The Kenya Farmers Association (KFA) says the move to import adequate fertiliser ahead of the panting season will facilitate early preparations by the farmers.

"Its a good strategy by the board to prepare early so that we do not experience crisis during the planting season," said KFA Director Kipkorir Menjo.

He said the government should look into ways of helping cereals farmers to address marketing hicuups they experience every year. Menjo said by only buying 600,000 bags of maize, the government had exposed farmers to marketing complications. Menjo said agents were offering maize farmers lower prices than the Sh 3,000 per bag set by NCPB.

NCPB is waiting for the government to release extra funds for maize purchase with farmers asking the government to use the Sh5 Billion that had been set aside in the current budget for relief programmes.

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