Subsidised topdressing fertiliser runs out mid-season in North Rift


A worker caries fertiliser at the NCPB depot in Eldoret on April 4. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NMG

Farmers in the North Rift have decried a shortage of the government-subsidised topdressing fertiliser distributed by the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).

The NCPB attributed the shortage to low supply of the commodity, leaving farmers to expensive alternatives.

“There is insufficient supply of topdressing fertiliser in the market but we have partnered with major suppliers to offer an alternative to farmers,” said Joseph Kimote, NCPB managing director.

The subsidised Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN) is selling at Sh1,950 but is missing in NCPB stores while the input is going at Sh7,200 in most retail markets.

The government has allocated Sh5.7 billion for the subsidy to cushion farmers from high production costs.

NCPB targeted to distribute 800,000 of DAP planting fertiliser, 200,000 bags of Urea, 600,000 bags of CAN and 600,000 bags of NPK.

But it has so far distributed more than 100,000 bags of both planting and topdressing fertilisers.

“There are other fertilisers like NPK 23; 23 which is suitable for planting of crops in the region unlike the DAP variety,” said Mr Kimote. He said the board has partnered with Toyota Tshusho, Mavuno, Yara, and Mijingo among other suppliers to hasten the distribution of the input.

The country requires about 650,000 tonnes annually but some farmers have to plant without it due to high prices.

“Farmers with certified documents are now allowed to purchase 40 bags of fertiliser up from the initial 20 both for planting and top dressing,” said Mr Kimote.

Cereal farmers have been forced to dig deeper into their pockets after major global fertiliser producers announced the suspension of export of an important component for production to improve yield.

The majority of the farmers have been forced to plant without fertiliser as prices hit a record high of Sh6,200 up from Sh3,000 for a 50-kilogramme bag amid tight supplies by largest producers like China.

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