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How cartels deny poor farmers access to fertiliser

By Dr Paul Kang’ethe | April 20th 2021

Poor investment and financing has led to fertiliser shortage and inaccessibility in Kenya.

A webinar themed Unlocking the Potential of AGRISMEs in Africa and their Role in Profitable Agribusiness noted that such bottlenecks need to be addressed for farmers to access fertiliser.

To dissect the matrix of what hinders accessibility of fertilizers to farmers, African Fertiliser and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) organised the webinar to chart the way forward.

The speakers noted that investments and finances that have been committed in the fertiliser subsector have dwindled over the years. This has led to a misbalance between demand and supply, hurting farmers’ productivity.
Another reason that came out strongly is corruption and exploitation of farmers.

Small scale farmers are side-lined by government officials in favour of agriculture bigwigs.

The small scale farmers who are lucky to get the fertiliser get it at exorbitant prices. This trend ought to be reversed.
At other times, the fertilisers are adulterated. This interferes with their quality and subsequently, the amount of nutrients in each bag.

This takes a toll on production and farmers suffer great losses.

Inadequate knowledge about fertilisers by the farmers is also detrimental to production.

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Category of fertiliser

Farmers are not aware of the categories of fertilisers which are best suited for the different varieties of crops that they cultivate. This can however be overcome through regular training of farmers.
Other factors highlighted in the webinar include product selection, regulation lifetime, and infrastructure among others.

These factors are interconnected into a mesh that can be termed as fertiliser iceberg.
Importance of fertilisers
Indeed, fertilisers are a necessary ingredient in farming. They provide the necessary nutrients for plant growth.
During every planting season, farmers have restricted access to fertilisers used for planting. The inaccessibility of this crucial input in farming negatively impacts plant growth and overall production.

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