Nation Media Group found itself on the wrong side of the government after criticising MITI CS Moses Kuria for corruption and his government's inability to run the country.

NMG reported that President William Ruto's administration's discounted fertiliser initiative only attracted one in three of the farmers it was intended for.

Nearly two months after farmers in important maize-growing zones completed their planting activities for the season, the most recent figures from the Ministry of Agriculture show that little more than one million of the intended over three million farmers have bought the low-cost fertiliser.

Nation Media Group found itself on the wrong side of the government after criticising MITI CS Moses Kuria

Farmers in the maize, potatoes, coffee, horticulture, and sugar cane subsectors are anticipated to have acquired 1.72 million planting fertiliser bags and 1.3 million top-dressing fertiliser bags.

3.2 million farmers signed up for the government-subsidised fertiliser programme that is aimed at the counties with the largest agricultural output, but the bulk of them have not yet used their coupons.

According to some farmers, the NPK 23:23 subsidised fertiliser is deficient in certain nutrients and must be blended with better versions like DAP to get the necessary elements.

According to previous experiences when they were given subpar fertiliser and suffered significant losses, it is clear that some farmers had doubts about the subsidised fertilisers, according to Kipkorir Menjo, director of the Kenya Farmers Association.

Farmers questioned by 'Nation' said there had been no issues with the development of the fertiliser-planted corn crop.

Jackson Kosgei, a farmer from Moiben, Uasin Gishu County, stated, "I am so far satisfied with the growth of the maize planted using this variety of fertiliser, and those who chose not to redeem their vouchers after registering did so just out of fear."

Farmers of maize in the North Rift area in 2017 were dealt a severe blow when they received subpar fertiliser, which led to the discoloration of their crop and a meagre yield.

Following that, specialists from Kephis and Kalro analysed soil, crop, and fertiliser samples, raising concerns about the fertiliser's quality.

According to a recent report, the Ministry of Agriculture justified the discounted fertilisers by claiming that the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro) had given them the go-ahead.

According to the study, "farmers were given both planting and top-dressing fertiliser based on both type and application formulae from Kalro."

Farmers in Nakuru County purchased 213,218 bags of fertiliser estimated to be worth Sh746.8 million, while those in Nandi County purchased 109,218 bags and those in Uasin Gishu County purchased 108,323 bags, respectively, valued at Sh382.2 million and 379.4 million. Farmers in Trans Nzoia County redeemed 240,265 bags, estimated to be worth Sh861 million.

The nation needs roughly 650,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser each year, but the exorbitant cost of agricultural inputs has kept out the majority of farmers, resulting in poor output.

In the budget for the fiscal year 2023-2024, the National Treasury has set aside Sh49.8 billion for activities promoting food security. For the delivery of subsidised fertilisers to thousands of farmers before the brief rainy season in October, Sh5 billion has been set aside in the current budget.


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