Farmers pay more for fertiliser as rain starts

Toyota Kenya Managing Director Kentaro Yoneda flanked by Governor Jackson Mandago (second right) speaks at the company’s fertiliser blending plant in Eldoret last week. [Peter Ochieng’, Standard]

Farmers will this season dig deeper into their pockets to buy fertiliser after the Government put off plans for a subsidy.

Already the long rains have started in parts of North Rift, and farmers are struggling to beat the planting deadline.

In the past, the Government has been granting a fertiliser subsidy, where the cost of a 50 kilogramme bag went for Sh1800.

Alternatives have emerged, but still they have proved to be more expensive than the State-subsidised fertiliser. 

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The challenge has seen counties team up with fertiliser companies for find cheaper solutions.

Uasin Gishu County prefers the blended Baraka fertiliser, produced by Toyota Tshusho for its farmers.

The fertiliser is retailing at Sh2,850 a bag. But there is a group of businessmen who are calling on farmers to buy the Export Trading Group (ETG) fertiliser that costs Sh3,000.

Bundotich Zedikiah Kiprop (Buzeki), the Chemelil Sugar Company chairman, is leading the businessmen who are fronting the ETG fertilizer.

Governor Jackson Mandago on the other hand is championing the purchase of Baraka fertiliser. The company that blends this fertiliser is situated in Ngeria area

Make deal

Last week, the county administration reached an agreement with the Baraka fertiliser blender, which allows farmers to buy its fertiliser for Sh2,850 through their cooperatives.

“We are encouraging farmers through their cooperatives to access cheaper fertiliser which is crop and soil specific,” said Mr Mandago.

ETG on the other hand is enticing farmers to buy its fertilizer with the promise that the company will in turn purchase their maize for Sh1,900 for each 90 kilogramme bag.

Mr Buzeki’s intervention has been welcomed by a section of farmers who claim local leaders have been silent without providing any solutions.

Kenya Farmers Association Director Kipkorir Menjo noted that the contest on which fertiliser to buy and which to reject could have a negative impact on maize production.

“The issue of fertiliser should not be politicised. Farmers should make their own decisions guided by cost and availability of the fertiliser,” said Mr Menjo.

“Farmers should not be misled by politicians who have personal interests, but given a chance to make their own decisions as long as all inputs have met the requisite Kenya Bureau of Standards guidelines.”

Kimutai Kolum, a large scale farmer in the county said anyone with an idea that can help farmers should bring it forward.

 “It is after Buzeki negotiated with ETG for the interest of farmers that some leaders have now come out criticising him instead trying to help,” said Mr Kolum.

“We suspect foul play here. What is the Government doing? Our elected leaders are not even concerned,”  said Ruth Kemboi, the acting chairperson of the Kenya National Federation of Farmers Uasin Gishu branch.

“Most farmers will abandon planting in this season.”

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Chemelil Sugar CompanyBuzekiKenya Farmers Association Director Kipkorir Menjo