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Food production on the rise as fertiliser use increases

By Standard Reporter | Published Wed, August 2nd 2017 at 11:03, Updated August 2nd 2017 at 11:09 GMT +3

NAIROBI, KENYA: The perpetual food shortage facing millions of Kenyans may soon be a thing of the past following the increased usage of quality fertilisers by farmers.

Shem Odhiambo, the Country Director of Export Trading Group (ETG), a multinational firm dealing with farm inputs, says the development has been precipitated by increased awareness on the timing, quantity, right type and usage of the critical farming ingredient.

"In the past, farmers would use fertilisers meant for top-dressing during planting and that of planting during top-dressing. The quantities would also be way below the recommended ones and this resulted in low yields,” says Mr Odhiambo.

Besides the lack of awareness, the ETG boss says lack of capacity has contributed significantly in the low food production in Kenya, which has compelled the country to import food from neighbouring countries. Mr Odhiambo argues that most farmers in Kenya are smallholders who “see fertiliser use as a luxury in their farms”.

With this in mind, ETG has come up with different packages of fertilisers to cater for the needs of farmers with different financial strengths. “They range from five-kilogramme satchets to 50-kilogramme bags. They are high-quality fertilisers which have undergone world-class testing,” he says.

Mr Odhiambo says the fertilisers, branded Falcon, are sold countrywide, making it easy for farmers to access them without undergoing extra costs. “But we are not just selling these fertilisers to farmers at affordable rates; we are also going an extra mile to offer them free extension services,” he said.

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In a bid to ensure guaranteed production, ETG has turned itself into what it refers to as a one-stop shop, supplying “all farming inputs such as seeds, agro-chemicals, and agronomic services, while purchasing their agricultural outputs.”

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