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Government talks tough against fertilizer cartels

By Mercy Kahenda and Joan Letting | Published Fri, March 9th 2018 at 00:00, Updated March 8th 2018 at 21:20 GMT +3
Agricultural Development Corporation Managing Director (MD) Richard Aiyabei (Right) explains to Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri how semen production works during an inspection tour of the Bull station at the ADC farm in Trans Nzoia. [Photo/Standard]

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri has declared war on cartels diverting Government subsidised fertiliser to the private market.

The cartels have been accused of buying the cheap fertiliser meant for farmers and repackaging it for sale at market prices.

Kiunjuri spoke in the wake of reports that a businesswoman had been arrested in Imbinga Village in Likuyani, for repackaging hundreds of bags of subsidised fertiliser and selling them at more than Sh3, 000 per 50kg bag.

The same goes for Sh1, 500 at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depots.

According to Likuyani Deputy County Commissioner Peter Ng’aleiyo Lotulia 466 bags of subsidised fertiliser were impounded.

“We also found more than 7, 000 empty bags which were being used to repackage the fertiliser," said Mr Lotulia.

Mr Kiunjuri said more arrests would be made.

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“We are not going to condone stealing of resources that are meant for genuine farmers. They will be arrested and arraigned in court. It will no longer be business as usual in this ministry,” said Kiunjuri.

Governor Jackson Mandago accused some county officials of fuelling the illegal fertiliser trade.

“We will not hesitate to dismiss county officials involved,” said Governor andago.

Elsewhere in Nakuru, farmers protested against the long wait for fertiliser at the NCPB depots. They accused NCPB of lack of transparency.

“There is no clear explanation from management,” said Micheal Kuria.

However, NCPB manager Alfred Korir dismissed the claims, saying majority of farmers had applied for Double Ammonium Phosphate (DAP) fertiliser whose issuance was still being worked on.

He said Nitrogen Phosphate Potassium (NPK) and Single Superphosphate (SSP) for planting is readily available.

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