Farmers in the Western Region expressed their frustration at not being able to obtain government-subsidised fertilisers.
Speaking to the media on Monday, December 12, the farmers from Nambale sub-county in Busia County urged President William Ruto to ensure that subsidised fertilisers reach both large-scale and small-scale farmers in the rural areas.
They also lamented that the National Cereal Board Depots locations, where they were directed to obtain the subsidised fertilisers, were not easily accessible.
Workers offload fertiliser from a truck National Cereals and Produce Board, Eldoret depot in Uasin Gishu County on April 04, 2022.
” We were asked to get our fertilisers from Malaba yet some of us cannot afford the transportation cost to and from Malaba. Some farmers don’t know where Malaba is located. How are we expected to access the subsidised fertilisers?” one of the farmers posed.
“We want the president to address our issues. The prices of fertilisers are very high in this area,” one of the farmers pleaded.
The farmers in the western Region claimed that the benefits of the subsidy have been enjoyed only by large-scale farmers while small-scale farmers continued to endure the high cost of living.
Owing to the situation, the farmers lamented that they lacked the means of providing basic needs for their families, as farming is considered their main source of income.
“The government should distribute the fertilisers to the small-scale farmers in rural areas like this one so that we can all benefit from the subsidy. We depend on agriculture to make a living, especially in Western Region,” another farmer asserted.
The Ministry of Agriculture, in September 2022, through then acting principal secretary, Dr Francis Owino, had appealed to farmers to obtain subsidised fertilisers in the nearest depot or sub-depot.
Ruto effected the subsidy and distribution programme on Monday, September 19, 2022, to cushion farmers.
The subsidy was aimed at increasing food production and lowering the cost of living in the country, a project that President Ruto stated was a journey towards changing the agricultural sector.
The head of state pledged to distribute about 1.4 million bags of subsidised fertiliser.
“We have started a journey of changing the agricultural sector”, stated Ruto two days before his inauguration.
The subsidy lowered the price of fertiliser per 50 kg bag to a retail price range of Ksh1,775 to a maximum cost of Ksh3,500 from Ksh6,500, a benefit that the farmers have not been able to enjoy.
Subsidised fertiliser offloaded at a depot in Homabay County on October 6, 2022.