Agriculture and Livestock Development Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi has expressed optimism that the ongoing distribution of subsidised fertiliser will improve farmers’ yields.
The Cabinet Secretary has said his ministry is determined to ensure all validated farmers receive the subsidised fertiliser as they prepare for the planting season.
Speaking after inspecting the ongoing distribution of the subsidized fertilizer in Narok, Bomet and Nakuru Counties, Linturi appealed to farmers across the country to register in the ongoing registration of farmers to enable them access the subsidized fertiliser from various National Cereals Produce Board (NCPB) stores across the country.
“During my tour of the three counties, I was taken through the process of buying the subsidised fertiliser through the E-voucher system. This system rolled by the government ensures traceability and full accountability of the distribution process,” Linturi stated.
Linturi added that so far he’s pleased with the distribution of the subsidized fertilizer program which is accessed from NCPB depots.
“The fertiliser subsidy programme is going on well and I’m hopeful we will achieve improved high yields this planting season,” he noted.
The Kenya Kwanza administration started the fertilizer subsidy programme last year targeting 6.2 farmers ahead of the planting season.
The programme is aimed at helping farmers access the commodity at a reduced cost of Ksh 3,500 per fifty-kilogram bag of fertilizer down from Ksh 6,000.
The government subsidy fertiliser is procured through the Kenya National Trading Company (KNTC) and distributed across the country through NCPB depots.
Linturi added that the availability to subsidized fertilizer is the most workable and long-lasting way to reduce the cost of food.
“I urge farmers across the country to register themselves in the ongoing exercise, so as to benefit from government subsidies,” Linturi appealed to farmers.
Prior to the upcoming planting season, the government targets to supply six million bags of subsidized fertilizer.
However, Linturi has given a stern warning to those aiding access and repackaging of government’s subsidised fertiliser, following allegations that middlemen are repackaging the commodity and then resale it at higher prices.
The CS said that the government will work with investigative agencies to ensure those behind the illegal trade are brought to book.
He also affirmed government’s commitment in lowering the cost of living through the subsidy to ensure that farmers benefit from the program so as to increase food productivity.
“My ministry is in the process of fully implementing the Kenya Integrated Agricultural Management information system (KIAMIS) with the aim of creating a database that will assist our farmers to access improved agricultural goods and services as we strive to achieve food security,” said Linturi.
In order to deliver subsidised fertilisers and influence agricultural policies, the government initiated a nationwide campaign to register farmers.
The goal of the operation was to develop a digitalised national farmer record that will make it easier to spot rogue traders and impostors who have been taking advantage of farmers by accessing and reselling the subsidized fertilizers at higher costs.
The ready-made database will give farmers managed access to government programs and enhance openness, accountability, and traceability in the operation of fertiliser subsidy schemes.
The Cabinet Secretary has also promised full implementation of the ambitious Agriculture Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASTGS), 2019 – 2029 as a key policy in the plans to make Kenya food secure.
This strategy emphasizes use of data and digital innovations as the main enablers for the envisaged transformation of Kenya’s agricultural sector.
“Our main target is to increase our food production through the use of data and technology to ensure we are a food secure country by 2030,” added Linturi.
He was accompanied by KNTC Chief Executive Officer Pamela Mutua among other officials from the ministry and County governments.