The government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries plans on procuring 200,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer for all farmers for the panting season under the 2018/2019 timeline.
The 2000,000 metric tonnes according to the Agriculture and Research Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga will cost Sh10 billion.
Speaking before the Senate Ad-hoc Committee investigating the maize crisis in the country, the PS was keen to point out the Ministry’s intentions in regards to the acquisition of fertilizer.
He pointed out that 50,000 metric tonnes of the total 200,000 metric tonnes will be agricultural lime.
According to the Principal Secretary, the lime will be used as part of an initiative to increase soil productivity in maize growing regions with acidic soils.
“The acidity in soils needs to be checked by adding lime so that the impact of fertilizer can take effect as such we plan to start an enthusiastic liming scheme that will address the issue of productivity in maize growing areas,” said Boga.
Subsequently, the PS also revealed that only listed traders will have the opportunity to buy subsidized compost from the government. This he said will deter corrupt dealers from repackaging and selling the manure at hiked prices to unsuspecting farmers.
“Many crooked traders are aware that the government through the National Cereals and Produce Board offers subsidized fertilizer. They then buy the commodity at cheap prices and sell them at high rates,” said Boga.
He added that they have strengthened the monitoring and the distribution of government subsidized fertilizer and that only vetted and registered farmers will access such fertilizer.
Consequently, the Chairperson of the Senate Committee Margaret Kamar gave the Agriculture PS a week to present the list of vetted farmers supposed to benefit from the move.
Ms Kamar said there have been issues with maize before and that they hoped the experience with fertilizer will not be the same. She reiterated that the list to be presented will only be that of approved farmers.
Statistics from the PS revealed that in the last financial year 2017/18, the government purchased 160,900 metric tonnes of fertiliser at a total cost of Sh4.5 billion which has aided around 700,000 farmers.