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Farmers face hurdles in getting cheaper fertiliser

By - | Published Wed, April 3rd 2013 at 00:00, Updated April 2nd 2013 at 22:24 GMT +3

By TITUS TOO

Eldoret, Kenya: Hundreds of farmers turned up at the National Cereals and Produce Board depot in Eldoret to purchase the Government subsidised fertiliser.

It is a race against time as farmers scramble for the input following the onset of long rains.

However, majority were unhappy with the procedure to get the fertiliser, saying it was hectic and could delay planting.

The process includes handing over forms from agricultural officials to NCPB, then getting a bank account to make the payment. The banking slips are then presented to NCPB before acquiring the fertiliser.

“I came here early in the morning but found a long queue. The Government should ensure farmers access fertiliser with ease,” said Mr Wilson Tanui, a farmer.

Farmers who spoke to The Standard yesterday appealed to the Government to distribute fertiliser to the county level to ease congestion at the regional depots and help farmers avoid travelling long distances.

Mr John Marimoi, former Marakwet East MP, also said the release of fertiliser in bits is frustrating farmers who would like to plant early.

“The Ministry of Agriculture should distribute fertiliser to NCPB depots in respective counties rather that Eldoret alone,” he said.

He said farmers from Nandi and Elgeyo Marakwet are forced to travel to Eldoret for the inputs yet there are NCPB depots in their regions.

Mr Pius Kirorei and Mr Sammy Thuo welcomed the subsidised fertiliser saying they can now purchase 50kg of Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) at Sh2,500 which is sold by traders at between Sh3,500 and Sh3,700.

North Rift NCPB regional manager Jonah Marindich said Eldoret depot has received 1,650 bags of subsidised DAP, Kitale 2,620 bags and Mois Bridge 1,500 bags.

Elsewhere, in Central Rift, the Ministry has advised farmers to purchase fertiliser at NCPB depots after its arrival over the weekend.

Speaking in his office yesterday Nakuru County Agriculture Officer Mr Stephen Muriithi said the fertiliser was not enough but more will be supplied. “Fertiliser is on high demand now that it is planting season yet we have received just a portion of the expected amount,” he said.

He said the fertiliser would strictly be sold to small-scale farmers as the ministry is advocating food security at family level and commercial farmers should purchase from traders.

Meanwhile, more than 2,200 IDPs at Mumoi farm in Subukia District are complaining of Government’s failure to supply them with fertiliser and seeds as promised.

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