Agriculture CS Linturi, PS issue contradicting directives on fertilizer sale

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi. [File, Standard]

Farmers across the country are in a dilemma after the Ministry of Agriculture issued contradicting directives in the last one week.

This was after a communication from Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi contradicted an earlier directive from the State Department of Agriculture’s Principal Secretary Dr Paul Ronoh.

Both directives have been issued amid allegations of circulation of counterfeit state-issued subsidised fertiliser and reports of seizures country-wide.

In a tweet on his official page Thursday evening, the CS directed all National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) and Kenya Seeds Company outlets to remain open during the Easter Holiday.

This, he said, is to ensure farmers are comfortable during the planting season.

“I have this evening directed NCPB & (sic) Kenya Seeds Limited outlets countrywide to remain open during Easter Holiday to facilitate our hard-working farmers needs in the ongoing planting season,” Linturi tweeted at a minute past 9 pm.

A week before the PS had written to the NCPB Managing Director, Joseph Kimote, directing him to suspend distribution of fertilisers to farmers.

Ronoh said the decision was reached after establishing that some of the fertilizer circulating had not met the required standards.

“Following a spot visit by Ministry staff led by the Principal Secretary to Counties and National Cereals and Produce Board stores, it was established that the above fertilizer being distributed under subsidy programme may not be meeting the required standards as earlier indicated,” the letter dated March 20 reads.

“Your institution is requested to suspend the distribution of this fertilizer with immediate effect from being issued to farmers,”.

Therefore, the PS directed NCPB to penalize suppliers whose fertilisers are below the required standard.

Speaking in Kuresoi, Nakuru County days ago, Linturi dismissed claims of counterfeit state-issued subsidised fertilizer, saying that government fertilisers were scientifically tested and approved before circulation to Kenyan farmers.

“The fertilizer given to farmers by the government has been tested and we have all the analysis. The fertilizer is okay,” Linturi said.