Ruto rules out subsidies on unga, promises cheap fertilizer instead
President William Ruto has assured farmers that the cost of fertilizer will only go down as his government engages manufacturers.
Speaking at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) on Wednesday, October 5, 2022, when he flagged off Kenyan tea to Accra, Ghana under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) guided trade initiative, he said fertilizer prices would reduce.
The President revealed that fertilizer prices would go down from the current Ksh3,500 to retail at between Ksh2,500 and Ksh3,000.
The government of Kenya has already worked on the fertilizer components. I know the government has made available about Ksh3.5 million so that our farmers can have access to fertilizer at a fairly reduced price of Ksh3,500. We are still working with the producers of fertilizer we want to see whether we can take this fertilizer down to between Ksh2,500 and Ksh3,000. That is our trajectory. And it's not just for tea, it's for all our farmers whether they are doing coffee or they are doing wheat or maize or all the other cereals in that space," he said.
The Head of State during his inauguration at Kasarani Stadium promised to avail 1.4 million bags of fertilizer, which currently retail at Ksh3,500 each, down from Ksh6,500.
The government through the Ministry of Agriculture on September 20, released Ksh3.5 billion to cushion farmers against the high cost of fertilisers in the country.
No subsidy for consumption
Ruto also made it clear that his government will not offer subsidies for consumer goods like maize flour but will only support the production of such crops.
"Our very first intervention is to try and reduce the cost of production so that we can enhance our productivity. Progressively we are going to work with our farmers so that we can better support them in production. I have said we are going to make a conscious decision to support our production and not subsidise our consumption," he said.
Ruto was only reiterating his message about ruling out subsidies on consumption. He had earlier affirmed that his administration will invest in producers.
"We are not going to be subsidizing consumption. That is why we are going slow on the matter of subsidizing consumption. We are going to work and support producers," Ruto said while addressing a Kenya Kwanza parliamentary group meeting in Naivasha.
"The Unga subsidy that was done, I was being briefed by the Ministry of Agriculture for one month, the taxpayer was asked to pay Ksh7 billion for the unga that cost Ksh100 which was nowhere in the first place. Only few people laid hold of it. If we had spent Sh7 billion shillings in fertilizer it would have been a different ball game."