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Farmers to get input subsidies in Covid recovery plan

News By Macharia Kamau | January 15th 2021 at 02:55:00 GMT +0300
A trader displays farm produce in Kakamega town on December 20, 2020. Farmers said Covid-19 has affected businesses compared to the previous year when they recorded high profits. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

The Agriculture ministry is scaling up the e-voucher system through which smallholder farmers access farm inputs at subsidised rates as among measures to help the economy recover from the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The system, where farmers get vouchers to buy inputs from participating agro-dealers, is currently in use across 12 counties but the ministry said it will increase the number to 37.

“The ministry is implementing the National Government Post-Covid-19 Economic Stimulus Programme on subsidising supply of farm inputs through the e-voucher system to reach more small-scale farmers,” said a public notice on Tuesday.

“Under this, the ministry intends to roll out the e-voucher input subsidy in additional 25 counties.”

The government has earmarked six crop value chains that contribute to the economy by way of food and nutrition security as well as growing export earnings.

The crops are maize, rice, Irish potato, coffee, green grams and sorghum.

To help achieve its plan, the government is embarking on recruitment of agro-dealers in more counties.

“The ministry, in collaboration with the respective county governments, is calling for expression of interest for agro-dealer services to supply quality inputs and services to participating farmers through the e-voucher input subsidy management system,” said the notice.

“Successful agro-dealers will sign an agreement with the ministry and be trained on how to redeem the vouchers. The payment to the agro-dealer will be electronically done through the e-voucher redemptions process.”

Under the system, farmers get vouchers from their respective county governments that they use to buy farm inputs at subsidised rates at local agro shops.

The agro-dealers claim the money from the government.

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