Farmers in dilemma over poor rains, costly fertiliser

Farmers purchase fertiliser at South Rift NCPB stores. Depot regional manager Emily Kukwai said the Government did not import subsidised fertiliser this year. [File, Standard]

Wheat and maize farmers in Narok and Nakuru counties are at a crossroads following erratic rains and high cost of farm input. 

Though some parts of the country have reported rains, majority of farmers in the regions are still uncertain on planting.

Chris Kuto, a wheat farmer in Narok, said it had become difficult for farmers to depend on rain-fed agriculture and that they were gambling on whether to plant maize or not.

Mr Kuto prepared his 100-acre farm in Narok North expecting to plant in March but his farm remains bare due to prolonged drought experienced in the country.

“There are some rains but we are not sure if the rains are adequate for germination of crops. This has left us in a dilemma on whether to plant or wait for more rains,” said Kuto.

The farmer also prepared 20-acre farm in Rongai in Nakuru where he is expecting to plant maize crop.

Big challenge

“Farming now is a big challenge because we are not sure about the rains," said the farmer.

David Kibiwot from Kabarak in Nakuru ploughed his 200-acre farm in January but the farm is still bare.

Mr Kibiwot said he had hoped to plant wheat in March, but the rains delayed.

He said it was hard for him to anticipate planting time because wheat crop requires more water for germination and production.

The farmer accused the Government of failing to provide subsidised fertiliser.

He purchased planting fertiliser from private stockists at between Sh3,200 and Sh3,500. 

According to Kibiwot, many farmers are contemplating abandoning wheat farming because of high cost of production.

“The Government should encourage farming by reducing cost of farm inputs and also help farmers source for better markets,” said Kibiwot.