Small-scale tea farmers have received a major boost following the delivery of the second consignment of 45,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser.
The consignment completes the 95,500 metric tonnes of fertiliser that the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) Management Services had planned to import on behalf of more than 600,000 smallholder tea farmers in the country this year.
KTDA (Holdings) Chief Executive Lerionka Tiampati said yesterday the fertiliser would boost tea production and increase farmers’ earnings.
“Application of fertiliser to tea bushes at the outset of short rains is necessary to ensure consistent high quality and quantity of green leaf,” he said.
Mr Tiampati added that importing fertiliser in large quantities enables the agency to leverage economies of scale, thus purchasing the product at comparatively lower costs per unit.
Last year, the average price of KTDA-procured 50kg bag of fertiliser was Sh1,770 against the market price of Sh2,800.
The price per bag is usually determined by the cost of the input itself and other associated costs such as import duties, port charges, handling, warehousing and transport costs.
The first vessel carrying the subsidised fertiliser docked at the Mombasa port on June 21 with 50,500 MT and the second, on August 22.
Mr Tiampati said the first batch of fertiliser has already been distributed to smallholder tea farmers, while the second one is currently being offloaded and packed in 50kg bags for immediate dispatch to the factories for onward distribution to the farmers.
The consignment includes an order that had been made by some of the local tea producers that are taking advantage of KTDA discounted bulk import.