Cereal farmers in the North Rift region have warned that they may not be able to plant this season over the current high cost of farm inputs.
Farmers should as of now be starting to prepare for the planting season, but many say it is almost impossible to buy farm inputs whose cost has skyrocketed.
A 50kg bag of maize costs about Ksh6,000, a price the farmers say is too high.
In a media briefing in Eldoret town, the farmers led by the Uasin Gishu branch Kenya Farmers Association (KFA) Director Kipkorir Menjo are now calling on the government to come to their rescue.
“We expect the government to help us on how to get fertilizer given the current high cost. We need a subsidy that will reduce the cost to where it was last year. We also expect a subsidy on seeds,” Menjo said.
The KFA Director also wants the government to increase a budgetary allocation to the Agricultural Finance Cooperation (AFC).
AFC gives loans to farmers at a low interest of 10 percent per annum.
“The government should ensure AFC gets at least Ksh10 billion to enable farmers to get affordable credit. If they increase cash to AFC, it will be better,” noted Menjo.
The farmers are now warning that should the government fail to facilitate a subsidy on farm inputs, they will have to prepare for a food crisis.
According to Thomas Bomen, a farmer in Uasin Gishu County, it will be impossible for them to afford to buy fertilizer at Ksh6,000 per bag.
“Seriklai kama haitaweza subsidy, inamaanisha mwaka ujao itakua vigumu kwa Wakenya kukula,” Bowen warned.
“Kama serikali haitafanya subsidy kwa pembejeo za kilimo, ugali itakua nadra sana,” added David Kiprono, a farmer and chairperson of the North Rift Cooperatives Union.
Similar sentiments were shared by Arap Kolum, a prominent farmer from Soy Sub County.
Kolum says the national government should provide a subsidy of Ksh3,000 per bag of fertilizer with devolved units also giving a subsidy of Ksh1,000 per bag to farmers.