Economy

NCPB ignores state order on 20 bags of fertilizer


Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Peter Munya. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The National Grains and Agricultural Products Board ignored a directive issued by the Ministry of Agriculture by distributing 20 bags of fertilizer to farmers, arguing that the directive must be communicated in writing.
  • The NCPB said the instructions they have require them to provide at least five bags of planting fertilizer and top dressing.

The National Grains and Agricultural Products Board ignored a directive issued by the Ministry of Agriculture by distributing 20 bags of fertilizer to farmers, arguing that the directive must be communicated in writing.

According to the NCPB, even though Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya verbally communicated that farmers should be allowed to buy up to 20 bags, no formal communication was made, forcing the agency to limit growers to five bags of planting fertilizer.

The NCPB said the instructions they have require them to provide at least five bags of planting fertilizer and top dressing.

“We are awaiting an official communication from the ministry as we need official documentation to update the directive,” said NCPB communications officer Titus Maiyo.

At the launch of the grant scheme last week on Monday, Mr Munya asked the council to sell farmers 20 bags of fertiliser, up from the lower number announced by the government earlier.

“I have ordered that the cap on subsidized fertilizer be increased to 20 bags from 10 bags per farmer,” Munya said.

The five bag directive means that many farmers who own more than 10 acres will be excluded from the subsidy, as each acre of land requires one bag.

The 5.7 billion shillings set aside by the state will subsidize 2,280,000 bags of 50kg sacks for farmers growing food crops. These quantities will support the cultivation of 1.13 million acres, with farmers paying 2,800 shillings per bag.

Mr Munya had told Parliament in March that his ministry needed at least 31.8 billion shillings to actually deliver the subsidy to farmers. Mr Munya said if the ministry got the 31 billion shillings, the price of planting fertilizer would drop to 2,800 shillings.

Fertilizers for maize growers were not included in the current budget, however, other crops such as coffee and tea received 1 billion shillings each, with sugar receiving 1.5 billion shillings.

The global market situation of high fertilizer prices started in early 2021 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the situation has been aggravated by the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

The price hike is also due to producing countries such as China, Russia and Turkey restricting exports to protect their farmers, compounded by strong consumer demand from India, Brazil and the United States. who buy large quantities, thereby reducing the available global supply.