Farmers say cut in prices of fertiliser major boost
Farmers from the North Rift grain basket have welcomed the directive by President William Ruto to lower fertiliser prices from the current Sh6,500 to Sh3,500 per 50kg bag.
Maize and wheat farmers from the agriculture-rich Trans Nzoia, Nandi and Uasin- Gishu counties yesterday said the move will go a long way in boosting food production in the country.
“We have been grappling with the high cost of production which has forced some farmers to reduce acreage under the crop impacting on the country’s food needs,” said David Kiprono, a representative of small-scale farmers in the North Rift.
The farmers also called on the Kenya Kwanza administration to do away with cartels and unscrupulous middlemen who have been importing cheap maize from neighbouring countries at the at the expense of the local produce.
They proposed that county governments should be mandated to contribute Sh1,000 for every 50kg bag of subsidized fertiliser because farming is a devolved function.
The farmers who held a meeting in Eldoret yesterday called on the government to allocate at least Sh10 billion to the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) which has been offering affordable loans to farmers.
“Farmers grapple with a lot of financial challenges as they have to wait for the whole year to sell their produce. The new president has said that his administration will revive the Big Four Agenda, but this will not succeed if farmers are not supported to boost food production in the country,” said Mathew Lang’at, farmer from Saos in Nandi County.
Rift Valley produced an average of 16 million bags of maize last year as compared to about 21 million the previous season.
During his address to the nation after being sworn in at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani on Tuesday, President Ruto said that affordability and availability of farm inputs will be his administration’s top priority. Ruto said for the short rain season, the government has made arrangements to avail 1.4 million bags of fertiliser to farmers in the country. “We urge county governments in Eastern, Central and Western regions to work with the national government to ensure farmers access the fertilizer.”