Farmers are staring at a possible shortage of topdressing fertiliser after Turkey — a leading source market for Kenya — banned the export of the commodity, setting the stage for another round of expensive input.
Turkey has stopped the export of CAN (Calcium Ammonium Nitrogen fertiliser), which is commonly used for topdressing.
Farmers, who are planting now, will need CAN for topdressing in the next couple of days.
“Most of the CAN comes from Turkey, which has now terminated exports to other countries to secure stocks for their farmers,” said the Ministry of Agriculture in a food security report.
The ministry has also pointed out that some traders have been hoarding Urea, which is also used in topdressing in anticipation that the price of the commodity will rise due to demand.
Key fertiliser-producing countries have either stopped or rationed exports to safeguard their own interests in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war, which has hit world trade.
For instance, China which is a major producer of potash, which is used in the making of fertiliser, has stopped the export of the product to ensure the country has sufficient supply locally.
The government last month introduced a subsidy scheme for farmers, which lowered the price of planting fertiliser from Sh6,200 to Sh2,800 while that of topdressing from Sh6,000 to Sh3,000, however, the stocks have dropped at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) because of demand.
This has seen a majority of farmers opt for expensive fertiliser on the market to plant on time.
The shortage has limited farmers to five bags of planting and topdressing fertiliser at the NCPB.
Last week, NCPB said it had started relocating fertiliser from other regions to the North Rift where it is in high demand to address the shortage.
Some of the firms supplying the NCPB with fertilisers are Maisha Minerals, the dealers of Mavuno, Minjingu Mines, Fanisi and OCP Kenya.
Last week, growers received a major boost after Toyota Tsusho joined the State subsidy fertiliser scheme.