EDITORIAL: Resolve fertiliser hitch

Workers offload sacks of fertiliser
Workers offload sacks of fertiliser at the port of Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

It is shocking to learn that there is a looming shortage of subsidised fertiliser even as farmers await the planting season.

According to the National Assembly, the country has been plunged into a fertiliser crisis after the State Law Office reviewed the supply contract documents. Reports state that the supply contract expired last month.

While we understand that contract details have to be verified it would help a great deal if the process was done much earlier and not when farmers are about to prepare their farms.

The government signed a supply deal in 2017 with the Export Trading Company Limited to supply imported fertiliser for three years. Even as we await Parliament to grill the officials involved on the matter, we must avoid a situation where the small farmer is given the short end of the stick. Public officials should know that our farmers operate based on seasons, namely; tilling, planting and harvesting.

One wonders how the supply contract of such an important commodity as fertiliser was allowed to lapse yet farmers were about to start work. It is unacceptable that the situation was allowed to fester for so long with no one bothering to talk to the farmers. While we welcome Parliament’s intervention, we must insist that those who caused the looming shortage must answer for their actions.