The Treasury has not released Sh4.3 billion for procurement of subsidised fertiliser one month to the start of planting season, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri told Parliament as shortage of the input looms.
Mr Kiunjuri said while the Treasury has cleared the Agriculture ministry to use a special procurement procedure, there was no money to buy the imported fertiliser.
“The buck stops with the Treasury. We were prepared early enough from August 7, 2018 when we wrote to the Treasury but we have had challenges ...”
“The Treasury has cleared us to buy fertiliser but the question is, can we buy fertiliser without money being uploaded in the Information Financial Management System (IFMIS)?” Mr Kiunjuri said.
He told the Agriculture committee that the Treasury circulars prohibit the start of any procurement when there is no money in the budget.
Mr Kiunjuri said even if the Treasury released the money immediately, there was a very small window to ship in the subsidised fertiliser ahead of the planting season.
“There is a very small window left to the planting season. If we have money, we can land fertiliser in the next 45 days if we use specially procurement procedure,” Mr Kiunjuri told the committee chaired by Mandera West MP Adan Haji.
He said the ministry has met dealers in the country who have assured of the availability of fertiliser but farmers will have to purchase at commercial rates.
“We have met dealers who have advised us that they are able to meet the gap as long as we give indication that we are not procuring subsidy fertiliser. They have also asked the government to relax importation procedure and speed up clearance at the Port of Mombasa,” he said.
He said the cost of planting fertiliser will average Sh2,800 to Sh3,200 while for top dressing will range between Sh2,400 and Sh2,800.
He said if farmers are unable to buy fertiliser at commercial rates, there could be low yields and food security will be affected.