Barely a year after political temperatures toned down between the two political heavyweights in Uasin Gishu county, Fresh rivalry has erupted again between Governor Jackson Mandago and businessman Bundotich Kiprop alia Buzeki over supply of fertiliser to farmers.
After the government failed to import subsidised fertiliser,Buzeki teamed up with the Exports Trading Company to supply more than two million bags of DAP to be sold at Sh3,000 per bag.
But on Friday, Mandago entered into a different agreement to provide fertiliser at Sh2,850.
The two were bitter rivals during the contest for the governor’s seat in the last election. Buzeki is seen as a front runner in 2022 when Mandago will be completing his two terms.
Mandago advised farmers not to buy poor quality fertiliser but go for the Baraka brand to be blended at Toyota Tsusho company in Eldoret.
“I want to advise farmers not be cheated by those claiming they are helping farmers yet they are supplying poor quality fertiliser to farmers,” he said.
ETG signed a deal with farmers to provide the fertiliser through co-operatives. The company has already delivered two million bags of DAP to its depots in Eldoret where farmers and other dealers are buying a bag at Sh3,000.
Strategic Grain Reserves Fund chairman Noah Wekesa had asked farmers to prepare to buy fertiliser from the open market because the government could not import the commodity due to procurement problems.
But farmers on the other hand thanked Buzeki saying the ETG deal had helped ease shortages and stabilise fertiliser prices which would have gone up to more than Sh3,500 a bag.
“Some people have been opposing the ETG deal claiming that Buzeki would earn political mileage because he has intervened to save the situation for farmers. Time for politics is still far away but the truth is, were it not for ETG there would be a more serious fertiliser crisis”, director of Kenya Farmers Association Kipkorir Menjo said.
Menjo said the ETG fertiliser is of high quality and farmers are free to subject it to confirmation tests.
Meanwhile, farmers will undergo fresh vetting in order to buy the 635,000 bags of subsidised fertiliser provided by the government at the NCPB.
Rains have started in most of the region to kick off the maize planting season in high producing counties like Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Trans Nzoia and Kakamega.
NCPB spokesman Titus Maiyo says the fertilier available includes mostly blended DAP for planting and CAN for top dressing. DAP will be sold at Sh1,800 per 50 Kg bag while CAN will go for Sh1,300.
The government fertiliser is however not enough. More than four million bags of DAP are required for the planting season.
“That is the amount of subsidized fertiliser we have at the moment and it will be sold out to farmers through normal procedures,” Maiyo said.
Due to stringent vetting measures and slow processes, most farmers have already dashed to buy the fertiliser from ETG.