The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) has signed a Ksh3.5 billion financing deal with Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Limited for the purchase of 95,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer to be distributed to KTDA tea farmers across the country.
The deal, which is part of KTDA’s fertilizer supply program for farmers, will see over 650,000 farmers who own the 69 factories that KTDA manages to benefit from the supply of fertilizer through the arrangement.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, KTDA Group Chief Executive Officer, Lerionka Tiampati, said that the move will help farmers access affordable fertilizer that will go towards improving the quality and yield of their tea.
He added, “This fits well with our long-term strategic objective to continuously work towards providing smallholder tea farmers with a wide range of cost-effective solutions for their everyday farming requirements.”
“We are delighted to be announcing this partnership with KTDA as it seeks to provide affordable fertilizer to its members. Tea is a key export sector that earns the country much needed foreign exchange. Standard Chartered Bank is therefore at the forefront of driving agriculture through corporates like KTDA and hence bringing prosperity to farmers. This financing is in line with our Brand Promise “Here for good”, while at the same time supporting sustainability in the tea sector as well as providing bespoke solutions to all our clients,” he said.
In entering into the arrangement, KTDA is leveraging on economies of scale afforded to it by its size to obtain the most competitively priced fertilizer in an international open tender. The fertilizer is set to arrive in July and August for subsequent distribution to farmers for their use at the onset of the short rains.
Last year, through a similar arrangement, KTDA procured and distributed fertilizer for farmers at Ksh 1,774 per 50kg bag against the prevailing market of Ksh 2700.
Farmers will start receiving the fertilizer from the end of July, with the quantity of fertilizer a farmer receives depending on the number of tea bushes owned.
On average, a 50kg bag of fertiliser is applied to 700 bushes. The fertilizer requirement is usually determined in November and December ahead of procurement in the following year.