Tea farmers are to benefit greatly from Fertilizer subsidy through work by the Ministry of agriculture to create a subsidy.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS) Peter Munya shared excitement as the Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA) procured 86, 288 metric tonnes of fertilizer. Further, the obtaining of this fertilizer will assist farmers on their farms during the short rains season starting October.
CS Munya shared that the subsidy of fertilizer at Sh1billion has been put in place to cushion almost half a million farmers against high costing fertilizer.
“KTDA through my Ministry has requested the government for fertilizer subsidy amounting to Sh 1 billion. Which will reduce the cost of fertilizer by Sh600 from Sh3, 073 to Sh2,473 per 50kilogram bag,” said Munya.
In addition, he shared the retail price for fertilizer for the current financial year had increased by 54%. This increase is from Sh1,996 in 2019 to Sh3,073 in 2021 per 50kg bag. Therefore, this means it not sustainable as farmers were operating at a loss.
Additionally, Munya said the government acting through the Ministry is working to reduce farm inputs’ and grow the industry. The aim to enhance growers access and save them money is the main reason fr this fertilizer subsidy.
CS Munya added that KTDA will work together with Kenya Railways to oversee transport costs of the imported fertilizer. The fertilizer is expected to move from Mombasa to Naivasha to the respective factories.
How do the tea farmers feel about the potential benefits from the Fertilizer Subsidy
In an interview with a tea farmer Emily Kirui said she would spend close to Sh16,000 to purchase five bags of fertilizer to use on her one-acre tea farm but the subsidy greatly reduced her input costs to Sh11, 200.
Emily Kirui, a tea farmer said she spent about Sh16,000 for five bags of fertilizer and this changed to Sh11,200.
“I appreciate our CS for the much needed restructuring and reforms in the tea sector. He has done well in seeking ways of reducing costs of farm inputs like fertilizer. This day has been a good day for our tea farmers. My tea farm is one-acre and I would buy five bags of fertilizer each at Sh3,200 to use to apply on my tea. However, with the new reduction, I will use roughly four of them at the subsidized price,” said Kirui.
Small scale farmers account for more than half of Kenya’s total tea output. And with fertilizer application being key to quality leaf production.
Kenya is the leading exporter of black tea, selling 95 per cent of tea leaves to the world market.