Middlemen hoarding fertilizer
By Edwin Cheserek
Farmers in the North Rift region have claimed that unscrupulous businessmen are frustrating the supply of subsidised fertilisers.
Kenya Farmers Association (KFA) said that some individuals purchase the commodity at the cereals board, repackage and dispose at exorbitant prices.
"We are aware of these cartels whose intention is to create shortage of the commodity for their benefit," said KFA director Kipkorir Menjo.
Speaking Sunday in Eldoret town, he asked farmers to be on the lookout to avoid exploitation.
He said: "Now that we have known the activities of these cartels, we need to be vigilant because we will end up losing to the wrong people."
Currently, there is high demand for the commodity, especially the subsidised fertilisers, because farmers have started planting.
Menjo said the cereals board might soon run out of stock because individuals claiming to be large-scale farmers were buying the fertilisers in large quantities to create shortage.
He said large-scale farmers were few and known, but this had not stopped the cartles from operating.
The director said it was difficult to suspect them, saying they have the Ministry of Agriculture receipts providing them the legitimacy to acquire the fertilisers.
"The immediate authorities should carry out thorough investigation and punish these people because they are violating Government policy on the subsidy system," said Menjo.
He expressed concern that the subsidy programme might not be successful unless proper mechanisms are put in place to check the cartels.
The Government introduced the subsidy system to cushion farmers against high cost of production.
National Cereals and Produce Board Managing Director Gideon Misoi said farmers had been put high alert.
He asked the public to volunteer information that can lead to the arrest of the culprits.
"Some individuals purchase the fertilisers under false pretence of using it in their farms, but we area tracking them," said Misoi.
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