The government is seeking to procure 804,000 more bags of subsidized fertilizer from local traders even as the planting season begins in the country.
Through a tender notice, the Ministry of Agriculture noted that it is ready to receive bids from potential suppliers by April 9th, 2019 for purchases that have been divided into five lots.
The move comes after the government, through the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) announced that the distribution of fertilizer one million bags of fertilizer was to start before the end of last week.
According to NCPB, 635,000 bags of fertilizer had been purchased under Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO) while 400,000 bags were carry-over stocks from previous imports.
Under the AGPO programme, youth, women and disabled people are given the opportunity to participate in government tenders.
Furthermore, the government through the National Treasury released an additional 2 billion shillings for procuring fertilizer amid worries by agricultural experts that reduced use of fertilizer during planting and for top-dressing could lead to low yields exposing Kenya to food production shortages.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mwangi Kiunjuri who has requested the Treasury for 3.68 billion shillings said he would chair a crisis meeting to be attended by senior department officials to strategize on the planned purchase of the farm input.
The new mode of purchase comes amid concerns of some unscrupulous importers selling to government poor quality fertilizer that farmers blamed for poor harvests in 2017.
This saw the government impose strict importation terms where all fertilizer consignments were reinspected upon arrival at Mombasa Port leading to delays and fears of price increase due to the acute shortage.
The planned purchase of 40,200 tonnes for this year’s distribution is a far cry from last year’s 248,991 metric tonnes worth 10 billion shillings that was made available to farmers for the January-March planting season. It was followed by 149,400 tonnes worth 5.4 billion shillings imported for the April-June period.
The fertilizer will be sold at 1,800 shillings for a 50-kilogram bag of Diammonium Phosphate (DAP), which is normally used for planting, with other brands such as NPK going at 1,700 shillings for the same quantity, said the Agriculture PS.