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No tea fertilizer importation during short rains: KTDA

By Saada Hassan | June 15th 2020
Jane Wanja plucks tea leaves on a farm at Rwathia Village in Kangema, Murang'a County.Tea farming is the main economic activity in the area. [Kibata Kihu, Standard]

Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) has now temporarily suspended importation of fertilizer on behalf of its farmers due to the disruption brought about by Covid-19.

In a statement earlier today, the firm says it usually imports fertilizer on behalf of its over 600,000 tea farmers for application during the short rains in October/November of every year.

“The bulk importation enables tea farmers to benefit from economies of scale, competitive prices and deliveries right at their tea buying centers, “reads the statement.

However, due to Covid-19, it has rendered the firm unable to deliver the fertilizer in time for application by the farmers.
The firm now says it sought and obtained expert advice from the Tea Research Institute on the effects on productivity of skipping one year of fertilizer application.  

“We sought and obtained expert advice from the Tea Research Institute on the effects on productivity on skipping one year of fertilizer application. The advice was that it is possible to skip one year with no significant losses in yields subject to adequate rainfall,” Said KTDA.

The institute however said the subsequent application should not be delayed to avoid further yield losses.
“On the basis of this advice, the Board suspended the Tender for the importation of fertilizer to next season,” the firm said.

Furthermore, farmers will be refunded the contributions they have made in the last seven months along with accrued interest effective end of this month (June 2020).

“Farmers who may wish to apply fertilizer to their farms notwithstanding the above advice may source the same from government-approved commercial suppliers with tea fertilizer stocks.”

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