Kenya gets 34,400 tonnes of fertiliser from Russia

Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi with Russian Ambassador to Kenya Dmitry Maksimychev inspect some of the fertilizer at Grain Bulk handlers in Mombasa. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

The government has received 34,400 tonnes of fertiliser in raw form as a donation from Russia to boost agriculture.

The fertiliser being discharged at the port of Mombasa will be reformulated to produce 100,200 tonnes and distributed to farmers under the Fertiliser Subsidy Programme through outlets owned by the Kenya National Trading Corporation and National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).

While receiving the donation comprising potash, urea and NPK, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi said the fertiliser will not be sold beyond Sh3,500 per bag.

"This is a great step to address cost of production. President William Ruto is committed to bringing cost of production down. Fertiliser tops the cost of production at 30 per cent," he said.

He was accompanied by Russian Ambassador to Kenya Dmitry Maksimychev and Secretary for Administration at the Ministry of Trade Avans Achoki among other officials.

Mr Linturi thanked the Russian firm for the donation and said the fertiliser will be granulated and bagged at a cost before being sold to farmers at a subsidised price.

"Some 100,200 tonnes of reformulated fertiliser will be produced from the 34,000 tonnes we are receiving today. It will be used as raw material to produce bigger quantities," he said.

The fertiliser will be reformulated and bagged at the Grain Bulk Handlers Limited facility in Mombasa before being transported by Standard Gauge Railway and made available to farmers in the next two weeks.

It was donated by the Uralchem-Uralkali Group of Russia and shipped in with the help of the World Food Programme on board Mv BBG Baise.

The Russian company has committed itself to donating 300,000 tonnes of mineral fertiliser to developing countries to prevent crop loss and spread of famine.

The CS said the country now has enough fertiliser and the focus has turned to addressing storage and post-harvest losses.

Mr Maksimychev said the fertiliser donation will address effects of hunger and malnutrition in Kenya.

"Russia has donated the fertiliser to friends to address the challenge of hunger on the ground. It is basically an effort to support friends in Kenya," he said, adding it will be blended in accordance with Kenyan standards.

He said the fertiliser will contribute towards achievement of sustainable development.

"The Russian Federation is proud to contribute to this consignment of fertilisers, which are crucial for global agriculture," he said.

He added: "Russia believes that healthy nutrition is an integral part of the human right to life. Unfortunately, the small farmers of the developing world take the heaviest toll during this turbulent era and we are proud to reach those in need and alleviate their risks of hunger."

Linturi said 2.8 million bags of planting and top-dressing fertilisers have been redeemed by farmers drawn from 34 counties.

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