Farmers getting subsidised fertiliser doubles in a year

Workers arrange bags of fertilizer.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

At least two in every three farmers in Kenya had purchased the government’s subsidised fertiliser as of March in preparation for the long rains planting season, a new survey released by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) shows.

The report, which comes to light amid a State-led investigation into claims of circulation of fake fertiliser during the current planting season, indicates that access has more than doubled since March last year when it stood at 29 percent to 67 percent last month.

“The proportion of respondents who reported to have accessed government subsidised fertiliser increased substantially to 67 percent in March 2024 from 53 percent in the January 2024 survey,” wrote CBK.

“The proportion of respondents who reported to have accessed the subsidised fertiliser in March 2024 was noted to be close to that recorded in the September 2023 survey, which stood at 69 percent, as farmers prepared to take advantage of the October-December 2023 rain season.”

The apex bank said those who are yet to receive the product cited a lack of information about availability, challenges around the logistics of access as well as demand outstripping supply.

In other cases, priority was given to farmers who were members of a farming group, making it difficult for those who did not belong to any farming outfit to benefit from the subsidy.

“There were also instances where farmers indicated they were notified through their mobile phones to go to the nearest National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depot to get the fertiliser, but they did not have the means to travel,” said CBK.

The accelerated uptake comes at a time when government agencies have launched investigations into widespread public complaints about the distribution of substandard fertiliser under the programme, with President William Ruto vowing to ensure that farmers who received fake products will be fully compensated.

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Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.