Home Agriculture Agriculture CS Willy Bett faces harsh reality of fertilizer cartels at NCPB Depots

Agriculture CS Willy Bett faces harsh reality of fertilizer cartels at NCPB Depots

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Though the government introduced fertilizer subsidies to cushion thousands of small scale farmers, brokers and cartels have had their way into the industry to reap from the noble initiative.

The brokers and cartels have taken advantage of weak systems in the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) that is mandated to distribute fertilizer nationally on behalf of the government, and have been able to get more fertilizer than the targeted group.

They do so by registering large acreages of land that may not be in existence, registering themselves more than once while others register the same details at the Sub Counties and the County level.

They then pick fertilizer at the different depots thus reaping maximally from the subsidized fertilizer by re-selling at a cost of upto Kshs 3,200.

The same cartels re-sale the subsidized fertilizer to unsuspecting farmers at higher prices as the demand for the commodity increases during the planting season.

This is a harsh reality that hit Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS) Willy Bett on Thursday, who had visited NCPB Depots in Kipkaren Salient, Chepterwai and Mosoriot in Nandi County.

During his visit to monitor subsidized fertilizer distribution at the depots in Nandi, Bett met farmers who were very desperate for his intervention and wanted his assurance that deserving farmers will get fertilizer.

The farmers raised issues of frustration they meet at NCPB, especially mismatching registration details which make them not access the fertilizer.

Additionally, they travel long distances to access the depots, only to be turned away because of reasons ranging from their names not being in the data base to some of their details missing in the data base.

Bett however sought to assure farmers that the government was progressively addressing the challenges faced by small scale farmers to ensure they benefit from subsidized fertilizer as expected.

“The official government subsidized price is ksh 1800 though some counties have gone further to subsidize for their farmers,”he said.

The CS said the government’s objective of reducing the cost of production and ensuring farmers reap maximally from farming remains his key agenda, and that the government was committed to eliminating brokers and cartels to cushion small scale farmers.

Bett reiterated that the world over, successful governments have ensured farmers are registered to ensure farmers benefit from government initiatives.

CS Bett addressing farmers

He urged farmers to cooperate and work hand in hand with NCPB officials to ensure an authentic data base is realized.

“I urge all farmers to work closely with NCPB so that we get an accurate data base that will in future inform the government’s decision on fertilizer demands and distribution,” said Bett.

The CS at the same time confirmed that there was enough fertilizer for the farmers during this planting season.

While urging farmers to visit nearby depots to collect their fertilizer, Bett said that the government had purchased over 104,000 metric tons of subsidized fertilizers, a 20 percent increase compared to last year.

Bett revealed that the Ministry is working hard to ensure that all deserving farmers have access to farm inputs so as to embark on planting exercise as early as possible, adding that the government was seeking other interventions like seed subsidies to further cushion farmers.

He added that to reach farmers in far flung areas, the government will open satellite storage facilities in order to bring the commodity close to the farmers.

“The government wants to ensure a small scale farmer back in the village accesses fertilizer easily by eliminating transport costs, thus the need to have satellite storage facilities,” said Bett.

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