Sell subsidised farm inputs throughout the year, says Senator

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei wants the government fertiliser subsidy programme made available throughout the year.

He said registered farmers ought to redeem their e-vouchers anytime to avoid last-minute rush for inputs at the onset of the planting season.

Cherargei noted that congestion at distribution points leads to corruption and infiltration of substandard inputs as unscrupulous traders take advantage of farmers’ frustrations.

“We want to urge President William Ruto to let the subsidy programme be available to farmers at any time of the year to avoid unnecessary congestion when planting season commences around March and April,” he said.

“A farmer can harvest produce and redeem their e-vouchers even in November or December. The programme ought to be available from January to January.”

Speaking at St Georges Catholic Church in Sinendet, Uasin Gishu, Cherargei said the move will avert pressure and desperation on farmers.

“Whenever there is desperation, cartels take advantage of the situation to financially fleece innocent farmers. They also sneak substandard products into the market.”

Cherargei, who is expected to lead the Senate Agriculture Committee to Salient in Nandi County today, urged investigating agencies to move with speed and arrest suspects behind varieties of fake fertiliser in circulation.

“President Ruto’s administration worked hard and lowered fertiliser prices from Sh7,500 to Sh2,500. We will not allow those out to sabotage government programmes,” he said.

“Those out to cause poor yields and starvation through fake fertiliser are a threat to national security. They are as dangerous as terrorists and should be arrested and prosecuted.” The Senator also invited farmers to attend the Agriculture team’s meeting, saying they would discuss, among other issues, last-mile distribution of subsidised inputs.

Farmers in the North Rift are currently planting as rains continue pounding most parts of the country.