Murang’a County will give 150,000 farmers free fertiliser in a drive meant to raise food production.
Announcing the move, governor Mwangi wa Iria said last week that each farmer will get 10 kilogrammes of the CAN brand for top-dressing.
“This translates to issuing 1.5 million kilogrammes of fertiliser which will cost us Sh75 million. The fertiliser will be issued over the weekend,” Mr wa Iria said.
He said procurement had been completed and Sh30 million down payment made. Mr wa Iria said the fertiliser will be issued to maize and horticulture farmers in order to boost food production and incomes.
“Our main challenge is insufficient extension officers to help us conduct a credible census of farmers and their acreage.
‘‘We have settled for standardised rations in order to harmoniously implement this programme,” he said.
The governor said the county government had also put in place a Sh100 million programme to subsidise small scale horticulture farming
“We are restructuring the dysfunctional value chain in the small scale horticulture producers’ sector to give rise to a clear-cut path from production to the market,” he said. The county has about 50,000 small scale horticulture farmers who rely on seasonal streams and shallow wells for irrigation.
About 100,000 others grow maize.
He said that “farmers are expected to foot the bill of primary fertilser while the county provides the top dressing variety.”
County Agriculture executive Albert Kimathi said the project is also a wealth creation endeavour which gives the youth incentives to venture into farming.
“We have always been ready to issue free seeds upon request by producer groups. We also now have the free fertiliser programme. That means a startup group gets off the starting blocks with 70 per cent reduced capital demand,” he said.
“We have reduced the cost of investing in agribusiness for our unskilled youth. For the disabled, we have zero rated any chargess applicable to their produce.”
Mr wa Iria said that small scale agribusiness ventures fetch Sh1.5 billion annually, “while our estimation is that they can earn as high as Sh10 billion.” He said the overall cost of production is about Sh600 million, leaving producers struggling to make ends meet.