State chokes DAP fertiliser use to control soil acidity


Workers arrange bags of subsidised fertilizer at the National Cereals and Produce Board depot in Elburgon, Nakuru County in this photo taken on October 11, 2022. PHOTO | JOHN NJOROGE | NMG

The government has cut the supply of DAP fertiliser in a bid to stem soil acidity that has been attributed to the continuous use of this type of farm input, especially in the North Rift.

A source familiar with the matter said President William Ruto has directed the Ministry of Agriculture to cut down on DAP fertiliser on the six million bags that are being imported with a view to having farmers embrace other types.

Farmers have over the years been discouraged by the continuous use of DAP, which has been blamed for soil deterioration that has impacted negatively on yields.

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However, farmers have stuck to this fertiliser because of the high yields that they hope to record when compared with the other types such as NPK that the government has been advocating for.

“The President has been very categorical that we cut on imports of DAP and bring other fertiliser that will help in improving soil fertility,” said a senior source in the ministry.

DAP is missing in the first batch of the subsidized fertiliser that the government has so far distributed to different National Cereals and Produce Depots in the north rift counties.

“No DAP on what we have received so far,” said Gilbert Rotich, NCPB Regional Manager for the north rift.

Agriculture Principal Secretary Harsama Kellow did not comment on the presidential directive but acknowledged that there is a need to cut on the use of DAP because of increased soil acidity.

Farmers prefer DAP because it has high levels of Nitrogen and Phosphorus, which are key micronutrients required by crops for proper yielding.

The decision to cut on DAP under the subsidy scheme is likely to cause some disquiet among farmers, who might opt to buy expensive fertiliser at the agro vet shops.

Read: Data cast doubt on success of Kenya's fertiliser subsidy

The Ministry of Agriculture said in December that it will conduct soil mapping and testing across the country ahead of the distribution of the subsidised fertiliser in order to inform the type of supplement that will be supplied in a given region.

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