Small-scale farmers have received a major boost following the move by the Ministry of Agriculture to increase the number of bags that a grower can purchase under the subsidy programme to 20.
Agriculture Cabinet secretary Peter Munya announced on Monday that the numbers have been revised from 10 bags of 50-kilogramme that the ministry had announced on Friday, coming as a major boost to food production.
Mr Munya said the move was meant to give farmers access to cheap fertiliser following the high cost of the product in the local market, which hit a high of Sh7,000 per bag from Sh2,800 last year.
“I have directed the capping of subsidised fertiliser be increased to 20 bags up from 10 bags per farmer,” he said.
The Cabinet Secretary was speaking during a tour of North Rift towns of Eldoret, Kitale and Nakuru during an inspection tour to monitor the restocking of the subsidised fertiliser.
Mr Munya said the subsidy will only be distributed to registered farmers, a move aimed at locking out unscrupulous business people who would buy and sell it to farmers.
The Sh5.7 billion set aside by the State will subsidise 2,280,000 bags of 50-kg 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 said farmers were to start accessing the fertiliser from Saturday across all the National Cereals and Produce Board depots. However, the commodity had not hit the market by the said date.
The intervention by the government comes just a few days after farmers started planting this year’s main crop following the onset of rains.
Mr Munya had told Parliament in March that his ministry needed at least Sh31.8 billion to effectively offer the subsidy to farmers.
He had said should the ministry get the Sh31 billion the price of the planting fertiliser (Diammonium Phosphate) 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 of high fertiliser prices started at the beginning of 2021 due to the impact of the 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 the US buying up large quantities, hence reducing available global supplies.