Economy

NCPB ignores State order on 20 bags of fertiliser

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Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • National Cereals and Produce Board has ignored a directive issued by the Ministry of Agriculture in issuing farmers with 20 bags of fertiliser, arguing that the directive has to be communicated in writing.
  • NCPB said the instructions that they have requires them to issue at least five bags of planting and top dressing fertilisers.

National Cereals and Produce Board has ignored a directive issued by the Ministry of Agriculture in issuing farmers with 20 bags of fertiliser, arguing that the directive has to be communicated in writing.

NCPB says even though the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya communicated verbally that farmers should be allowed to purchase up to 20 bags, an official communication has not been made, forcing the agency to limit growers to five bags of planting fertiliser.

NCPB said the instructions that they have requires them to issue at least five bags of planting and top dressing fertilisers.

“We are waiting for official communication from the ministry as we need official documentation to actualise the directive,” said NCPB communications manager Titus Maiyo.

While launching the subsidy programme last week on Monday, Mr Munya asked the board to sell to farmers 20 bags of fertiliser, from the lower number that the government had announced earlier.

“I have directed the capping of subsidised fertiliser be increased to 20 bags up from 10 bags per farmer,” said Mr Munya.

The five bag directive means that a lot of farmers who have more than 10 acres will be locked out of the subsidy as each acre of land requires one bag.

The Sh5.7 billion set aside by the State will subsidise 2,280,000 bags of 50kg bags for farmers growing food crops. These quantities will support the cultivation of 1.13 million acres with farmers paying Sh2,800 per bag.

Mr Munya had told parliament in March that his ministry needed at least Sh31.8 billion to effectively offer the subsidy to farmers. Mr Munya said should the ministry get the Sh31 billion the price of the planting fertiliser would drop to Sh2,800.

Fertiliser for maize farmers was not included in the current budget, however, other crops such as coffee and tea received Sh1 billion each with sugar getting Sh1.5 billion.

The Global market situation on high fertiliser prices started at the beginning of 2021 due to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic and the situation had been worsened by the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

The rise in prices is also due to producer countries such as China, Russia and Turkey restricting exports to protect their farmers compounded by heavy consumption demand from India, Brazil and USA buying up large quantities, hence reducing available global supplies.