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Farmers face shortage of top-dressing fertiliser

RIFT VALLEY
By Titus Too | June 17th 2016

There is shortage of subsidised top-dressing fertiliser supplied by the Government in North Rift region.

Farmers have been unable to get CAN fertiliser despite making frequent trips to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depots in the region.

There are fears the fertiliser shortage coupled with the dry spell in the region could result in poor harvests at the end of the season.

The heavy rains that pounded the region during the April planting season have subsided over the past few weeks thus affecting maize fields, some of which have started wilting.

“Continued shortage of top dressing fertiliser and the shortage of rain will adversely affect maize production at the end of the season. There is inadequate supply of the subsidised input in NCPB depots,” said Tom Korgoren, a cereals farmer in Uasin Gishu.

 Small quantities

Korgoren added: “The subsidies are supplied in small quantities. This is a big problem because in some cases, there is no top-dressing fertiliser in the depots. But when it is supplied, farmers are given less quantities of bags than they require”.

The farmer told The Standard that the dry spell had affected most farms but noted that “it is a natural occurrence” that is beyond control.

He urged the Government to enhance access to inputs at the right time.

“Farmers are in dire need of CAN so that they can apply to boost crop development since the rains have started pounding the cereals-producing region,” said Korgoren.

Prolonged dry spell

Recently, an NCPB official from the region who did not wish to be named said the Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, had recently sourced for Mavuno top-dressing fertiliser from Athi River Mining Ltd, which was distributed to farmers.

“We have been receiving the fertiliser in rations and it is distributed to farmers as soon as it arrives at a subsidised price of Sh1,500. The input has been supplied to depots in Eldoret, Mosoriot, Moi’s Bridge, Kipkaren, Kitale among others,” said the official, who added that the demand is gradually reducing.

Some farmers said the prolonged dry spell was an opportune time to apply the top dressing fertiliser for effective absorption when the rain resumes.

Ruth Kemboi, treasurer of Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers, Uasin Gishu branch, said the region was expansive and urge the Government to ensure supply of adequate inputs throughout the year.

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