Governor Barasa warns critics against undermining Sh703 million food security plan

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa during the distribution of a top-dressing fertiliser. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa has cautioned political leaders against misleading residents regarding the Sh703 million county-subsidized fertiliser programme.

He urged farmers to embrace the product and emphasized the importance of accurate information for the success of the initiative.

Barasa noted that despite the attack on the county's subsidized fertiliser program by some politicians, many farmers across the 60 wards had started recording good results in their farms.

“Despite the negative politics from some known quarters, our field officers and administrators are reporting the appreciation of farmers for the high-quality subsidized fertiliser we distributed,” said Barasa.

Barasa was speaking in Ikolomani constituency during a tour across the county to assess the progress of his agenda of food security and distribution of seedlings.

Farmers in Kakamega County will now have access to more than 100,000 bags of top-dressing fertilizer and 400,000 tea seedlings in a quest to improve food production and economic empowerment.

“We are soon moving to October where our farmers will start harvesting their maize. Whoever misled you and told you not to buy the fertilizer will not be there to provide food for your family,” said Barasa.

In the current financial year, the County government provided 103,240 2-kg packets of maize seeds, 108,000 tissue culture bananas, 13,500 bags of fish feed weighing 25kgs, 1,324 fingerlings, and gave 15 tractors for plowing.

Silas Lubonga, a maize and tea farmer in Navakholo constituency lauded the county farm inputs program stating that he is recording sterling results courtesy of the county subsidy fertilizer.

“I used the county fertilizer in my 10-acre piece of land and I can say, the crops especially maize are doing good, politicians should be warned not to capitalize on isolated cases of fake fertilizer by cartels from outside the county to scuttle the county's noble idea. If we don’t grow foodstuff we will not feed our families,” said Lubonga.

Previously, Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale warned the residents from purchasing the fertilizer claiming that it was substandard.

However, in a letter dated March 20, 2024; written to the County Secretary, the company that supplied the planting fertilizer to the County explained that their product had been certified by the Kenya Bureau of Standards.

“Polysulphate is a naturally occurring organic fertilizer mined in Europe. It undergoes no chemical processing and is renowned for its slow nature of releasing nutrients, ensuring sustained nourishment availability to plants while minimizing leaching,” the letter reads.

In March, Governor Barasa oversaw the distribution of Sh703 million in subsidized fertilizer and Sh9 million in fish feeds to all farmers in the 60 Wards.

The move sought to boost food production and encouraged farmers to use improved subsidized farm inputs for better harvests.

The 25 kg of subsidized fertilizer, retailed at Sh1,920 and payment is made electronically for accountability and to avoid incidences of theft.

Barasa assured farmers of better yields this season adding that the fertilizer had been approved by all the relevant stakeholders.