Sh5bn subsidised fertiliser docks at port

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett. FILE PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett. FILE PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU 

Fertiliser worth Sh5.03 billion has docked at the Mombasa port ahead of the April planting season.

The 34,232 metric tonnes of Di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) arrived aboard MV Lowland Sky from Saudi Arabia.

Agriculture secretary Willy Bett flagged off the consignment destined for National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depots in Mwea and Eldoret.

Mr Bett said the fertiliser had arrived in good time before the long rains expected in March unlike last year when they delayed.

The farm input comes as the country experiences prolonged drought and famine with Mr Bett predicting good rains and harvest. A total of 27,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser had been offloaded from the vessel by yesterday.

He said the fertiliser was imported under the subsidised fertiliser programme and more was expected from early next month.

“This one is DAP for planting and will sell at Sh1,800 per bag. We expect top dressing fertiliser from early next month, which will be sold to farmers at Sh1,500 per bag”, he said. The fertiliser goes for Sh3,000 per bag at market rates.

Mr Bett announced stringent security measures to protect the fertiliser from being diverted by unscrupulous businessmen as was the case last year.

He added that large-scale farmers would receive 20 per cent of the subsidised fertiliser while their small-scale counterparts would get 80 per cent of the farm input.

“Every measure has been put in place to stop any monkey business this time round. We experienced some cases last year where some fertiliser was diverted. This led to the sacking of 26 NCPB staff. We shall be very ruthless to anyone who tries to interfere with the process,” he said.

Among the measures put in place include placing a unique secret security feature in every fertiliser bag and making it mandatory for the transporters to have a tracking system to monitor the trucks moving the commodity to the NCPB stores.

“Other measures are that the government this time round will buy the fertiliser only after it has been packed at the stores. We are not responsible when the cargo arrives at the port”, he said, adding that both the ministry and county officials should be involved in the distribution process as well as share their tracking password.

He said a task force had been formed to monitor the entire process to improve efficiency and make sure the fertiliser ends up in the hands of the intended group.

“We will make sure that every bag reaches the farmer and eliminate pilferage along the way”, he said adding that the programme had increased funding for the subsidy programmes.

Export Trading Group Country Director Shem Odhiambo within five months, all the fertilizer stored at their godown at Bonje will be been transported to upcountry destinations and to farmers.