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69% of farmers access subsidized fertilizer, disparities remain

According to a Central Bank of Kenya survey of the Agriculture sector, access to government-subsidized fertilizer among farmers stood at 69.7 per cent in September 2023.

This stood at 49 per cent and 43 per cent in July and May respectively, on account of automated registration and distribution. 

Farmers with larger tracts of land had more access to subsidized fertilizer. 82 per cent of large-scale farmers (above 12 acres) received government fertilizer. Small scale (Below 5 acres) received the fertilizer just 55 per cent of the time. This was 10 per cent less than medium-scale farmers (5 -12 acres).

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Nevertheless, some farmers expressed concerns about the effectiveness of the fertilizer subsidy in the absence of certified seeds and constant water supply given the fluctuations in the weather conditions. 

The survey established that several areas were still considerably far from the National Cereals and Produce Board offices where the subsidized fertilizer is stocked thus limiting access. 

Farmers expect higher levels of output particularly maize in the next harvest given the different varieties being provided. The Survey noted that the triple NPK (NPK 17.17.17) fertilizer was more effective given the balanced proportions of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium which supported different crops at different stages from planting, leaf formation, and sweetening of fruits. 

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Other fertilizer types observed in the field include; Kynoch 16:29:2, and lime (calcium carbonate) among others. 

The Survey noted that the Government had enough stocks of fertilizer at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) with a mix of both high alkaline and high acidity fertilizers.

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