Farmers in the North Rift region are up in arms over the lack of subsidized fertilizers at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depots.
The government had a few weeks ago announced that it had allocated Ksh57 billion to facilitate fertilizer subsidies to farmers.
This followed an uproar from farmers over the skyrocketing price for the farm input. Many of the farmers said they would be unable to plant unless the government steps in to lower the price.
A bag of planting fertilizer was retailing at as high as Ksh6,700.
And following the cries, the Ministry of Agriculture announced that farmers would access the fertilizer at a subsidized fee of Ksh2,800 per bag, signaling major relief to the farmers.
The fertilizer was to be accessed through NCPB depots and only to registered and certified farmers.
Fast forward a few weeks later and many farmers are yet to get the fertilizer – all because the government has not been able to provide enough to meet the local demand.
“I have been queuing here for the last two weeks, every day, I am told I have to wait for a delivery of the fertilizer to be made,” laments one of the farmers from Moiben.
“What was the point of the government saying they will provide subsidized fertilizers yet there is none in the NCPB depots,” he adds.
With the rains already witnessed in the region, farmers are now worried they might end up planting late, a move that would affect productivity.
The National Parliament Agriculture Committee Chairman Silas Tiren admits that accessing fertilizer has been a challenge to the government due to procurement procedures.
Tiren, who is also the Moiben MP notes that what NCPB has been able to access for the farmers is the fertilizers that were already with local retailers.
“We have to follow the proper procedures because without that we end up in problems. Let’s understand each other. I’m there to do the follow-up, but let us do the right thing,” the MP said.
He however assured farmers that latest Tuesday this week, at least two lorries of the fertilizers will have arrived at the NCPB depot in Eldoret for farmers to plant.