Farmers will face high fertiliser prices after the government stopped subsidised imports over flawed procurement.
Strategic Food Reserves Fund chairman Noah Wekesa has said although the government had been importing the fertiliser over the years, this time it will not be possible because of challenges in procurement.
“This year it will not possible for the government to bring in the subsidised fertilizer and farmers should now be prepared to buy it from other sources in the open market,” Wekesa said.
Wekesa spoke in Eldoret after touring the NCPB depot in the region to oversee purchase of maize from farmers by the board.
Last week, it emerged that the Attorney General Kihara Kariuki had advised the ministry of agriculture not to import fertiliser through flawed procurement processes involving firms contracted to do the importation.
Kihara wrote to the ministry advising that the tendering for the importation had been fraudulent and public money would be lost if the procurement for this year’s fertiliser was allowed to go on.
Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri had also earlier revealed that the importation may not be possible because of the procurement problems.
Farmers now fear that the prices of the fertiliser in the open market will be high now that the NCPB will not supply subsidised fertiliser.
“NCPB usually helps to keep the prices lower through the supply of the subsidised fertiliser and now that there will be no importation prices will rise at the time farmers start planting,” said Director of Kenya Farmers Association Kipkorir Menjo.
The government was to import about 200,000 metric tons of subsidised fertiliser especially DAP which is used for planting by farmers. The planting season in North Rift kicks off at the end of next month.
At NCPB farmers were were to buy the subsidised DAP fertilizer at Sh1,200 per 50kg bag but farmers fear that the price may go as high as sh 3,000. Menjo said there may be shortages. Some farmers want President Uhuru Kenyatta to personally intervene.