Lack of subsidies could push us to fertiliser alternatives - farmers

North Rift farmers say they will also be forced to scale down maize production. [Photo, File]

Farmers are now contemplating using animal manure in their farms if the state fails to provide fertiliser subsidy.

The North Rift farmers say they will also be forced to scale down maize production for domestic consumption and other needs.

“Lack of government’s subsidy programme will completely cripple small scale producers. The low cost inputs were intended to benefit such producers to reduce hunger and fight high poverty levels,” said Paul Kerich, a small scale maize producer from Kipkaren in Nandi County.

He said rural communities are struggling with the high cost of living and will not afford fertiliser from traders who sell a 50kg bag at Sh3,300 when they could have accessed it at Sh1,800 in the subsidy programme.

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“Without a subsidy, we may be forced back to gathering manure from our cows, chicken, goats and sheep for use in our farms,” said Kerich, who warned that the absence of subsidies would kill the farming industry.

'Too late'

Kimutai Kolum, a large scale farmer, said the parliamentary committee on agriculture's move to summon Cabinet Secretaries Mwangi Kiunjuri (Agriculture) and Henry Rotich (Treasury) had come "too late".

“The government is too reluctant. The planting season is already here and plans should have been put in place in advance to ensure subsidised fertiliser at National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) stores,” said Kolum.

He said farmers from Uasin Gishu County have convened a meeting today in Eldoret to chart a way forward.

“Farmers will reduce by half their maize production,” he said.

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Addressing farmers from Ziwa, Uasin Gishu Senator Margaret Kamar said the decision to deny farmers subsidised fertiliser will adversely affect them.

“It is painful and disappointing the way farmers have been treated,” she said.

North Rift farmersmaize productionUasin Gishu County