Seized Russian fertiliser set to be redirected to Kenya


Workers arrange bags of subsidised fertilizer at the National Cereals and Produce Board depot in Elburgon, Nakuru County. FILE PHOTO | JOHN NJOROGE | NMG

Russian fertiliser that had been confiscated in Latvia due to European sanctions will be exported to Kenya by the United Nations’ food agency.

Latvia’s Foreign Ministry has been quoted saying the first batch of the 200,000 tonnes of fertiliser has been released to Kenya by the World Food Programme (WFP).

The consignment had been seized last year after the European Union bloc placed sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine towards the end of February 2022.

News agency Reuters reported that the Latvian government described the shipments as a donation that it facilitated as support for the countries that have been affected by the food crisis triggered by the Russia-Ukraine war.

The release of this fertiliser is key to trade negotiations between Russia and the United Nations under the Black Sea grain initiative, which seeks to create a safer passage for maize and wheat out of Ukraine to the global market.

The corridor is important to Kenya as Ukraine supplies bulk wheat to the country, given a production deficit which sees local farmers only meet a third of demand.

The shipment will ease the current deficit of fertiliser in the country and maintain the lower prices of the commodity in the market.

The government is selling a 50-kilogram bag of fertiliser to farmers at Sh3,500 under the subsidy scheme, down from Sh6,500 last year.

The bulk of this fertiliser is coming from Morocco with other companies such as Yara also participating in the supply of the product to the government for onward sales to farmers.

Previous reports have said that most of the fertiliser that was seized in Latvia was owned by Uralchem and Uralkali, companies that were previously owned by Russian oligarch Dmitry Mazepin, who has since forfeited the control of the units.

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