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State corporation in partnership to offer affordable fertiliser

BUSINESS
By Titus Too | April 6th 2020
Farmers maintain one-meter distance while planting in Mangu Estate, Nakuru County. [Harun Wathari/Standard]

Kenya National Trading Corporation (KNTC) has partnered with Moroccan fertiliser manufacturer, OCP Group, to enable smallholder farmers access low-cost input.

The partnership will see Di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) distributed to farmers at Sh2,300 per 50kg bag.

KNTC Managing Director Timothy Mirugi said the partnership with OCP Group through its subsidiary, OCP Kenya, was in line with the government’s objective of promoting agriculture under the Big Four agenda.

Mirugi said the fertiliser will be sourced directly from the manufacturer in Morocco, thus cutting costs normally charged by suppliers and middlemen and shouldered by farmers.

The move gives maize farmers a sigh of relief. The farmers have been buying the same amount of fertiliser for between Sh2,800 and Sh3,100 from some stores in the North Rift region.

Limited stocks

Farmers have been scrambling for limited stocks of last year’s carryover of subsidised fertiliser in Eldoret and Moi’s Bridge National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depots. An official from the board, who spoke to The Standard on condition of anonymity, said they were yet to receive subsidy for the current year.

During the opening of this year’s Eldoret Agricultural Society of Kenya show, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya announced that fertilisers for this year’s planting season would cost Sh2,300 per bag.

Uasin Gishu Agriculture Executive Samuel Yego recently said NCPB still has 32,000 bags of last year’s subsidised fertiliser at the Eldoret depot, and another 25,000 bags in Moi’s Bridge. He said this was inadequate since the county requires over 550,000 bags.

Yesterday, Mirugi told The Standard that they would guard supplies from unscrupulous business people who may buy the fertiliser in large quantities to sell at higher prices.

“We are targeting smallholder farmers to enhance food security and economic empowerment. Priority will be given to those who cultivate 10 acres. Those with 50 acres will also be considered after vetting,” said Mirugi.

He said mechanisms are in place to ensure the input only benefits farmers who produce maize, wheat and other food crops. “We are liaising with agricultural officials and county administrators, coordinated by county commissioners, to ensure only genuine farmers benefit,” he said.

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