The first batch of subsidised fertilizer for tea farmers imported by the Kenya Tea Development Agency Management Service Ltd (KTDA MS) has arrived at the Port of Mombasa.
The entire cargo sourced from Russia cost Sh2.36 billion and KTDA said it would be cheaper compared to the past. The second consignment is expected in the country early next month.
Chai Trading Company Ltd Managing Director Charles Mbui said the import is 13 per cent more than what was shipped in last year. Chai is a subsidiary of KTDA.
Mr Mbui said the prices would vary depending on the cost of transport, adding that a 50kg bag will not cost more than Sh3,000.
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"This bulk importation helps KTDA provide fertiliser at the best possible price to about 560,000 small-scale farmers. The price is based on international tender and is awarded to the best evaluated bidder. We have continued to enjoy the benefits of economies of scale, which are then passed on to our farmers," Mbui said at the Mombasa port yesterday.
A bulk carrier vessel Mv Federal Tambo berthed at the port to offload 39,000 metric tonnes of NPK 26:5:5 fertiliser, which is part of a 77,050 metric tonnes consignment expected in the country for 2015-2016.
A 50kg bag of subsidised fertilizer, which is procured directly from the manufacturers in Russia, is cheaper than what is available in the market.
"There's a myriad of direct and indirect economic activities that are created during the distribution process. For example, KTDA contracts 1,000 trucks to ferry the fertiliser from Mombasa port to the factories upcountry, thus creating employment opportunities for hundreds of youths," he said.
Mbui said the fertiliser would be distributed to 56 tea factories in Central, Western, Rift Valley and other regions where tea is grown. Farmers in these regions will access the commodity within two months.
KTDA MS Operations General Manager Alfred Njagi said the fertiliser will be distributed based on each farmer's number of tea bushes. On average, one 50kg bag of fertiliser covers 700 bushes.