PHOTO | Courtesy

Ahead of the planting season, the government has entered into a pact with private companies to supply farmers with subsidized fertilizer in a bid to address the current shortage and increase food production.

Under the agreement, SBL Company, which is involved in production of organic fertilizer, will use Kenya Farmers Association (KFA) and National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) stores to reach out to the farmers.

This came as it emerged that the high cost of raw materials and the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine had major effects on fertilizer production and imports.

According to SBL General Manager James Mukono, the new venture was meant to address the current shortage of fertilizer in the market.

Speaking in Naivasha, he said that the joint venture between KFA, NCPB and the company would come in handy during the planting season.

“The organic fertilizer is going for Ksh 1,700 per 25kg bag and it can be used for planting or for top dressing for all kinds of crops,” he said.

Mukono added that the high levels of silica in the organic fertilizer was good for water retention adding that the current product was readily available and affordable in the market.

“We have decided to work with government agencies as our products have undergone the necessary tests and are certified by Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS),” he said.

On his part, the company director Joe Kariuki attributed the high price of fertilizers to the Ukraine war, noting that importing Silica was very expensive.

“Currently the biggest challenge facing this sector is the high prices of raw materials, the ongoing war in Russia and Ukraine and licensing by various government agencies,” he said.

Kariuki said that the company had the capability of producing 3m-4m bags per year as demand for the organic fertilizer continued to rise.

“Currently our products are being sold even in neighboring countries and this is due to their quality and affordable prices,” he said.

The KFA manager in Naivasha Priscilla Tanui said that the joint partnership with the company would come in handy during the planting season.

She said that they were waiting for the subsidized fertilizer as promised by the government as one way of addressing food security by increasing production.

“Currently we don’t have the government’s subsidized fertilizer but we have ordered 2,000 bags which will be shared in the first phase by farmers ahead of the planting season,” she said.

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