The Government has assured fertiliser dealers that there will be no interference in the market and they should make their plans based on a free and liberalised market.
Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives CS Peter Munya, told the traders that the government’s only interest was to ensure that farmers bought fertiliser at affordable prices. “I want to assure you this, and it comes from the highest office in the land and Cabinet, that the government does not plan to import, stock or distribute fertiliser. That is a major policy decision taken and it will not change because it comes from the highest office in the land, and has Cabinet approval, ” the CS announced during a meeting with the dealers at Kilimo House.
The dealers had requested Mr Munya to assure them that there would be no change of policy next year and the government would not interfere in the fertiliser trade. Responding to other concerns by the traders, Mr Munya pledged to hold discussions with the Ministry of Transport to find ways of ending delays in offloading fertiliser at the Port of Mombasa. The traders had complained that ships sometimes have to wait for two weeks for fertiliser to be offloaded while other material such as that used in the manufacture of cement is given priority.
So far this year, 485,000 metric tons of fertiliser has been imported by private dealers, and it is expected to rise to 640,000 metric tons by December. The traders asked for a dedicated berth in Mombasa to handle fertiliser imports.
The Principal Secretary for Crop and Research Prof Hamadi Boga urged for cooperation between traders and the government to test soil samples in different areas of the country to decide on the type of fertilizer and seed to be used for maximum yield. Some blenders said they already incorporate agricultural lime in their fertilizer to help reduce acidity in the soil. PS Boga said tests and the type of seed will be dealt with in the e-voucher system where the government subsidises farmers to test soil, buy seed and fertiliser.