Farmers will receive 804,000 more bags of subsidised fertiliser after the government floated bids seeking the farm input from local suppliers.
In a tender notice posted Wednesday in the dailies, the Agriculture Principal Secretary’s office said bids should be received by April 9 for the purchases divided into five lots.
The move comes a week after the National Treasury released an additional Sh2 billion for procuring fertiliser amid worries by agricultural experts that reduced use of fertiliser during planting and for top-dressing could lead to low yields exposing Kenya to food production shortages.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mwangi Kiunjuri who has requested the Treasury for Sh3.68 billion said he would chair a crisis meeting to be attended by senior department officials to strategise on the planned purchase of the farm input.
“We are faced with challenges in the purchase of fertiliser and the meeting will explore the best method to procure the fertiliser within the law. We will be ensuring that farmers get top-dressing fertiliser (CAN) in good time,” disclosed the CS.
The new mode of purchase comes amid concerns of some unscrupulous importers selling to government poor quality fertiliser that farmers blamed for poor harvests in 2017.
This saw the government impose strict importation terms where all fertiser consignments were reinspected upon arrival at Mombasa Port leading to delays and fears of price increase due to the acute shortage.
The planned purchase of 40,200 tonnes for this year’s distribution is a far cry from last year’s 248,991 metric tonnes worth Sh10 billion that was made available to farmers for the January-March planting season. It was followed by 149,400 tonnes worth Sh5.4 billion imported for the April-June period.