Linturi warns fertilizer suppliers as planting season begins

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi has warned fertilizer suppliers that they risk contract cancellation if they fail to deliver the input to all stores across the country.

Speaking in Uasin Gishu where he officially opened the 2024 Eldoret Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) show, Linturi asked all suppliers to provide their distribution schedule by Monday. 

“We will not accept to work with lazy suppliers of subsidized fertilizer. We all know that we increased food production courtesy of subsidized fertilizer. No one should derail the food production agenda,” Linturi warned.

His remarks follow an uproar among farmers across maize-producing counties of the North Rift region among them Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Elgeyo Marakwet, Bungoma, and Nakuru County where farmers complained of inadequate fertilizer in depots.

According to the CS the distribution challenges were also majorly caused by the increasing demand for subsidized fertilizer. 

However, Linturi welcomed the complaints by farmers saying: “It is important that the farmers keep us on our toes. We are assuring them that we are working round the clock to take fertilizer to the nearest stores.”

Currently, 100 lorries of fertilizer have been transported to Trans Nzoia County where Linturi says they aim to be distributed to farmers who had raised complaints of shortage earlier this week.

On Thursday, Agriculture Principal Secretary Paul Rono warned government officers involved in a suspected subsidized fertilizer racket that they will face arrest and prosecution.

“There is no room for cartels in the fertilizer supply, storage, and distribution. We have put in place foolproof measures to ensure that fertilizer is safe,” said Rono.

The PS, who launched the distribution of fertilizer in Kapcherop, Chesoi, Kapsowar, Iten, and Chepkorio stores in Elgeyo Marakwet County said all National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depots will be adequately stocked with the input in the next two weeks.

He assured farmers that the subsidized fertilizer being delivered to stores at the grassroots was of a high quality.  “Research was done before the fertilizer was procured. The procurement was based on science and suitability, that is why we recorded increased yields last year,” he said.

He said the ministry was working closely with Counties to ensure smooth distribution of fertilizer to registered farmers.