NCPB sets in motion plans to compensate farmers for fake fertiliser

Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi chats with Chandrabhan Chimurkar, the General Manager KEL Chemicals Ltd. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) has embarked on the process of compensating farmers who procured substandard fertiliser for the current maize planting season.

The board in a statement yesterday, urged affected farmers to lodge formal complaints in respective depots where they bought the inputs.

The development follows a directive from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development that farmers who bought the fake fertiliser in the government’s e-subsidy programme be compensated.

According to the cereals board, all farmers who bought KEL fertilizer will be compensated in line with Ministry directive.

“All affected farmers are urged to fill a claim declaration form that will be provided at the depot or selling center where they bought the fertiliser. They are also required to present their original national Identification Cards (ID) cards and evidence of purchase including the exhibits for those who have not used the input,” read part of the statement.

The statement signed by Titus Maiyo, the Corporate Affairs Manager on behalf of NCPB Managing Director Joseph Kimote indicates that farmers who have already used the input will be compensated with an equal quantity of top dressing fertiliser.

Those who have not used the inputs will also be compensated with equal quantities of planting fertiliser.

“All farmers who have utilized the fertiliser and NCPB verifies that they procured from their stores, will be issued with an equivalent quantity of the top dressing fertilizer,” said the NCPB boss Kimote.

To be approved for immediate compensation, Kimote said the farmer’s documentation must match existing records in NCPB stores or deposits in the mezzanine system.

The board at the same time noted that three million bags of planting fertiliser and another 300,000 top dressing fertilizers have been distributed to registered farmers across the country for the 2024 long rains planting season.

The comes following outcry by farmers who bought substandard fertiliser.

The controversy has left farmers a confused even the planting season gets underway in the country’s grain basket of North Rift.

“Farmers are confused over fake fertiliser. We do not have proper communication from the government on what should farmers do if they bought the affected fertiliser,” said Tom Nyagechanga.

Mr Nyagechanga, the Kenya National Farmers Federation (Kenaff) commodity representative of Trans Nzoia county, said in a recent interview that other farmers who are still lining up for subsidized fertiliser fear whether they will get genuine or fake products.

The official urged the government to give clear direction on whether farmers should continue planting with the ‘fake’ fertiliser, or return them to respective stores for replacement.

Jackson Kwambai, a farmer from Moiben in Uasin Gishu county said some farmers who were yet to redeem their vouchers are now contemplating purchasing fertiliser from private stockists at higher prices ranging between Sh6,300 and Sh6,500 per 50 kg bag.

“There is an outcry from farmers who bought the variety of fertiliser that the government suspended its distribution from NCPB. The product has animal manure, cement, and salt-looking substances. The product also blocks planters hence the difficulty in mechanized farming,” said Kwambai.

Last month, Agriculture Principal Secretary Kipronoh Ronoh, asked NCPB to suspend NPK 10:26:10 variety.

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