Ruto calls for prosecution of fake fertiliser dealers

 President William Ruto (centre) at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depot in Eldoret. [PCS]

President William Ruto made an impromptu surprise visit to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depot in Eldoret on Monday before proceeding to West Pokot County.

The Head of State directed NCPB officials across the country to fast-track the distribution of subsidised fertiliser to farmers to enable them to take advantage of the long rains to plant crops.

Addressing farmers who had gone to redeem their e-vouchers at the NCPB stores, Ruto warned that fraudsters selling fake fertiliser and seeds will be arrested and prosecuted.

He said the fraudsters are out to undermine the food production programme by selling fake fertiliser to unsuspecting farmers.

The president assured farmers of sufficient stock of subsidized fertiliser.

He, however, told NCPB to hasten the distribution of fertiliser on account of increased rains across the country.

"We are reducing the cost of farm inputs so that we can tackle hunger. I promised I would sort out the fertiliser issue. Now a 50 kg bag that was initially retailing at Sh6,000 is going for Sh 2,500, pray for me so that I can reduce it further next year," he said.

Ruto promised that his administration will push for further reduction of fertiliser prices to make farming a profitable venture.

"We do not want to confine this to maize cultivation. We are broadening our range of crops so that our earnings can go up. Agriculture can drive our industrialisation agenda and spur our exports," he said.

President Ruto disclosed that he had received complaints from Kenyans about over-seeds bought from Kenya Seeds Company

He said he had appointed new management at the state corporation as well as instituted reforms to ensure Kenyans get quality seeds.

Ruto announced that his administration is working to pay dairy farmers bi-monthly in the future to empower them and ensure they afford animal feeds to sustain the sub-sector.

He promised that starting July 2024, farmers would start receiving prompt payments for their produce.

“I have directed that starting this July, payments will be made promptly every end month just like salaries,” he assured the farmers.

"In the future, I am making preparations so that farmers will be paid every 15 days to be able to buy animal feeds,” he added.

The President regretted that delaying payments demotivates the hardworking farmers.

He explained that the push to make bi-monthly payments was driven by the vision to position agriculture as one of the key economic drivers and further enhance food security. 

Ruto said starting end of April, the government will be paying Sh 50 per litre of milk and encouraged residents to invest in dairy farming.