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Fertiliser manufacturer to spend Sh800m in providing inputs, agronomical support to farmers

Yara East Africa Limited Country Manager (extreme left holding purple flag) and government officials flag off one of the trucks transporting 13,000 tonnes of fertiliser at Autoport Warehouse in Nairobi. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]
More than 73,000 farmers from across the country will get free fertiliser from Yara International which has been in the forefront empowering small scale farmers.
The farmers will also get agronomical digital knowledge support which has been a big challenge especially to those without any digital capabilities. This deal will see each farmer receive three bags of 50 kilogrammes of fertiliser for planting and top dressing during the short rains season between August and November.
The farmers are part of 250,000 smallholders in seven countries across southern and eastern Africa benefitting from the initiative dubbed Action Africa: Thriving Farms, Thriving Future.
The shipment of 13,000 tonnes that docked in Mombasa at the end of July has been customised and calibrated to meet the soil needs of maize farmers from Western, Nyanza, Rift, Lower Eastern, Central, Upper Eastern and Coast regions.
The initiative seeks to provide an avenue to enhance food production and boost food security even as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravage the economy, threatening to increase the number of those that are at risk of hunger.
Devastating crisis
“Vulnerable communities may face the most devastating food crisis in decades. If we don’t act now, millions of people will be pushed into deep poverty and hunger,” said Svein Tore Holsether, president and chief executive of Yara International.
“This is especially worrying in Africa where lives and livelihoods are at risk. As a critical part of the food value chain, we have a responsibility to support vulnerable farming communities and help avert a hunger crisis.”
The initiative is supported by the United Nations, the Norwegian government and several African institutions.
Yara’s fertiliser and agronomic support is expected to triple maize production and feed more than one million people across Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique for one year.
“This initiative provides a good model for how the private sector and individual companies can step up, in partnership with African institutions, governments and organisations to help sustain production and food supply chains and safeguard the people most at risk during this pandemic,” said World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley.
According to Yara East Africa, Kenya Country Manager, William Ngeno, the company will be working in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and the county governments in the 22 counties of Bungoma, Busia, Kakamega, Vihiga, Siaya, Homa-Bay, Migori, Nyamira, Narok, Bomet, Trans-Nzoia, Nandi, Machakos, Makueni, Kitui, Kiambu, Muranga, Embu, Tharaka-Nithi, Meru, Taita-Taveta and Tana-River.      
“The Sh800 million set aside for the roll out provides for the fertiliser and extension support to farmers using digital communication platforms, communication at the point of collection and field visits on how to best utilise farm inputs including the fertiliser so as to realise great gains,” said Ngeno.?

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