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Farmers question use of North Rift season for issuing subsidized fertiliser

According to the Central Bank of Kenya’s July Agriculture Sector Survey farmers have raised concerns about the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) using the North Rift planting season as the benchmark for issuing subsidized planting and top-dressing fertilizer. 

They argued that regions are not homogenous and there could be timing differences in planting and harvesting which would affect production.

Another issue raised by farmers in the survey is that utilization of the subsidized fertilizer is at times limited by the lack of a sustainable water source given the dependence on rainwater. 

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Lack of alternative water sources predisposes farmers to climate shocks thus making them vulnerable to harsh weather conditions.

Farmers who had yet to receive the subsidised fertiliser cited the following issues with the program: 

  1. A lag between the date of receipt of the notification and redemption of the subsidized fertilizer, 
  2. Lack of finances to redeem vouchers,
  3. Wrong timing, 
  4. Long queues, 
  5. Long distances,
  6. Corruption,
  7. Not being contacted despite registration,
  8. Title deed issues and, 
  9. Obtaining information late.

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Of the sampled farmers, 49 per cent reported having received government-subsidized fertilizer by early July 2023. 

This is six per cent more than in May of this year and 20 per cent more than in March 2023.

They attested that there have been improvements in the registration and distribution of subsidized fertilizer owing to the automation of the process.

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