MP wants Linturi to quit over fake fertiliser scam

Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi when he issued modern grain driers at National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depot in Meru. [Phares Mutembei, Standard]

Bumula MP Jack Wamboka has asked Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi to resign following the influx of fake subsidised fertiliser in the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depots.

Addressing the press in Bungoma town on Saturday, Wamboka said the issue of fake fertiliser is grave and should be addressed by MPs across the political divide.

He made the comments as farmers across some parts of the country raced against time to plant maize seedlings.

Even though the farmers claim they are counting huge losses after purchasing fake fertilisers, they say they have been forced to plant their crops to make the best out of the ongoing rains.

In North Rift, farmers spent Easter holidays on their farms planting maize seedlings.

This comes amid concerns over alleged fake fertiliser and lengthy procedures in redeeming e-vouchers for the input allocations at National Cereals and Produce Board depots.

"President William Ruto should have dismissed the CS immediately. Everything about Linturi seems to be accompanied by a scandal," said Wamboka.

Wamboka stressed the need for investigative authorities to intervene and thoroughly scrutinise the parties involved in the distribution of counterfeit fertiliser. 

Meanwhile, in Uasin Gishu, farmers said they were picking the pieces after purchasing fake fertilisers and are on their farms planting.

Joseph Sang, from Chepkanga, said for the last three days, farmers have concentrated on their farms as the season starts.

“We are struggling to beat the season. I have received half of the subsidised fertiliser allocated to me," said Sang.

"I am progressing well in planting though I stopped temporarily owing to Friday night heavy rains that affected mechanized farming,” he added. 

Sammy Chemweno, a maize and wheat farmer from Moiben, said; “We are blessed with good rains and we anticipate favorable conditions over this season.”

Chemweno, who has concluded planting, said some farmers are currently planting, others spraying, still queuing for fertiliser as others start ploughing.

“Agricultural producers face a wide range of challenges. Normally, by the end of March, most of maize farmers ought to have planted,” said Chemweno.

He pointed out that some producers are still lining up for inputs while others are confused following reports of fake fertiliser.