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Nakuru Farmers reject Gov’t cheap fertilizer, cite planting season over

It has emerged that farmers in Nakuru County have shown apparent lack of interest on the availability of cheap fertilizers in the region.

On Thursday, The government released Sh3.55 billion to subsidise the cost of fertilisers from Sh6,500 to Sh3,500.

“To address high food prices we must begin with the farmer. Providing affordable farm inputs through a subsidy programme is a strategic intervention that will put the country on the right path.” Said the Deputy President, Rigathi Gachagua.

Gachagua further confirmed that the consignment of 426,000 bags of DAP fertilizer were flagged off for farmers across Kenya.

According to officials at Nakuru NCPB, the fertilisers are expected towards end of the week.

Farmers who spoke to The Standard said they were not in a hurry to purchase the commodity as the planting season had already passed,with some arguing that they had already purchased the fertilisers at the high price of Sh6,500.

“I read in the papers that the fertilisers were in the various depots within the counties. However, until now I have not bothered to find out whether it was available in Nakuru,” said Paul Njuguna, a small-scale farmer in Bahati, Nakuru as quoted by The Standard.

Njuguna said he did not see any point in purchasing fertiliser now because he already spent Sh6,500 in March to buy fertilisers for maize production on his 15-acre land.

Another farmer, Joseph Kipkoech says he is only finding out now that there will be cheaper fertiliser. However, he says this does not excite him.

Kipkoech, a farmer of 40 acres in Njoro says he only plants twice in a year; maize on a 20-acre farm in March and wheat on the other 20-acre farm in May.

“It may not be useful to most farmers including me, who will plant again next year,” said Kipkoech.

He said the government should ensure the subsidy is available next year, during the onset of rains.

“I bought fertiliser at Sh6,500 in March and May and I am not overjoyed unless the fertilisers are held in the store until next year,” he said.

Kipkoech like other farmers hopes the rains will be kind to farmers next year, as he admits that the harvest this year will be low.

Meanwhile, cereals producers in the North Rift region have expressed satisfaction with the latest steps taken by the government on the subsidised fertilisers.

Speaking to The Standard, the farmers stated that the government subsidy program will benefit farmers in areas that will receive short rains before December.

“Most farmers are off-season at the moment but we are happy because we know when the planting season arrives, we will be able to acquire farm inputs at fairly discounted prices, ” said Joseph Mutai, a large-scale maize and wheat farmer from Nakuru.

The farmers however called on relevant government agencies to ensure that the products are readily available to farmers devoid of complex procedures.

“Under such a situation, middlemen tend to get between, access fertilizers and sell them at high prices. This is not good for farmers who are already struggling to survive. We need fairness in access of the fertilizer,” says Mark Seurey, a wheat farmer at Kiplombe area in Uasin Gishu.

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