Farmers in the Rift Valley region have halted the preparation of their lands for maize planting as the government is yet to supply subsidized fertilizer.
Hundreds of maize farmers in counties including Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, West Pokot, Nandi, and Elgeyo Marakwet have expressed their uncertainty of the farm input.
As is the norm, farmers usually buy the fertilizer in January from National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depots across the country before the planting season, which is March to May.
According to Kipkorir Menjo, the Kenya Farmers Association director, the government should conclusively inform farmers whether farmers will benefit from the subsidy program this year or not.
“Farmers need to know whether they will get the fertilizer this year or not so that they can look for alternative means of sourcing for the commodity,” said Menjo during a press briefing in Eldoret.
Accompanied by the representatives of the farming sector, Menjo promised that they would hold a crisis meeting next week at Teachers Advisory Centre where meaningful resolutions in the sector will be deliberated.
Menjo says that the meeting will be attended by Moiben legislator Sila Tiren of Moiben and Alfred Keter of Nandi Hills.
Meanwhile, farmers are urging the government to speed up the subsidy programme in time before the planting season comes. Due to the anticipation of long rains, they feel that the government is delaying the process, which could greatly affect the crop.
The farmers have challenged the Agriculture Cabinet secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri to shed a light on the issue surrounding the supply of fertilizer instead of playing deaf to their woes.
Gilbert Rotich, the NCPB North Rift Regional Manager confirmed that the board has not received any consignment of the government’s fertilizer for sale to the maize farmers in the Rift region.