, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 7 – The Agriculture Committee of the National Assembly on Thursday warned there may be a shortage of subsidized fertilizer that may adversely affect food production this year.
Committee Chairman Adan Haji Ali expressed concerns at the laxity in which the Ministry of Agriculture is handling the importation of the fertilizer a month after the planting season began.
“We are here today to avert a looming disaster ahead of the planting season. We are here to compel the National Treasury as well as Ministry of Agriculture to be able to start the process of procurement. They can use whatever means available to them, it should not be the farmers’ problem that is why we are here. We don’t want this cycle and the same old stories of the previous to recur,” Haji stated.
The Committee called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene in order to save his Big Four pillar of boosting food security, which will be impacted negatively.
Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe who is also the Committee Vice-Chairman urged the government to move fast and solve the issue before unscrupulous traders may take advantage of the gap in the distribution channel to supply sub-standard fertilizer.
The MPs urged President Kenyatta to ensure farmers get the fertilizer as it would be unaffordable for them in the open markets.
Strategic Food Reserves Fund Chairman Noah Wekesa last week advised farmers to buy the fertilizer from the open market after Attorney General Kihara Kariuki objected to the Agriculture ministry importing fertilizer through flawed procurement processes involving the firms contracted.
The government was to import about 200,000 metric tonnes of subsidized fertilizer especially the Diammonium phosphate (DAP) which is used in planting by farmers.
The planting season in the high producing areas of the North Rift starts in most areas at the end of February.
The National Cereals and Produce Board had set the price of subsidized DAP fertilizer at about Sh1,200 per 50kg bag but farmers fear that the price may go as high as Sh3,000 for the same quantity.