The government has received 34,400 tonnes of fertilizer in its raw form as a donation from Russia to boost farm production.
The fertilizer being discharged at the port of Mombasa will be reformulated to produce to a total of 100,200 tonnes and distributed to farmers under the Fertilizer Subsidy Programme through outlets owned by the Kenya National Trading Corporation (KNTC) and National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).
While receiving the donation that comprises potash, urea and NPK, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi said the processed fertilizer will not be sold beyond Sh3,500 per bag.
“This is a great step to address the cost of production. President William Ruto is committed to bringing the cost of production down. Fertilizer tops the cost of production at 30 per cent,” he said.
He was accompanied by the Russian ambassador to Kenya Mr Dmitry Maksimychev and Secretary for Administration at the Ministry of Trade Mr Avans Achoki among other officials.
Linturi thanked the Russian firm for the donation and said that the fertilizer will be granulated and bagged at a cost before being sold to farmers at a subsidized price.
“It will then be sold to farmers under Fertilizer Subsidy Programme. It is planned that a total of 100,200 tonnes of reformulated fertilizer will be produced from the 34,000 tonnes we are receiving today. The fertilizer we are receiving will be used as raw material to produce bigger quantities,” he said.
The fertilizer will be reformulated and bagged at the Grain Bulk Handlers Limited facility in Mombasa before being transported by Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and made available to farmers in the next two weeks.
It was donated by the Uralchem-Uralkali Group of Russia and shipped in with the help of the World Food Programme on board Mv BBG Baise.
The Russian company has committed itself to donating about 300,000 tonnes of mineral fertilizer to developing countries in an effort to prevent crop loss and the spread of famine amid global economic and food security crises and shield millions of people from the threat of starvation.
The CS said the country now has enough fertilizer and the focus has turned to addressing the challenge of storage and reduction of post-harvest losses.
“I am now focusing on how to manage post-harvest losses and storage. We want to reach a level where the country is food secure and we can export,” he said.
Mr Maksimychev said the fertilizer donation was in an effort to address the effects of hunger and malnutrition in Kenya.
“Russia has donated the fertilizer to friends to address the challenge of hunger on the ground. It is basically an effort to support friends in Kenya,” he said, adding it will be blended in accordance with Kenyan standards.
The envoy said the fertilizer will contribute towards the achievement of sustainable development in Kenya.
“The Russian Federation is proud to contribute to this consignment of fertilizers, which are crucial for global agriculture,” he said.
He added, “ Russia believes that healthy nutrition is an integral part of the human right to life. Unfortunately, the small farmers of the developing world take the heaviest toll during this turbulent era and we are proud to reach those in need and alleviate their risks of hunger.”
Linturi said since the launch of the fertilizer subsidy programme, 2.8 million bags of planting and top-dressing fertilizers have been redeemed by farmers drawn from 34 counties.
The programme has led to a reduction in the price of fertilizer from Sh7,000 to 3,500 per bag. Supported agricultural value chains are expected to create wealth and employment and thus lead to reduced cost of living.