Kenya to start importing fertiliser from Tanzania
The government will from July this year begin importing cheap fertiliser from Tanzania.
Agriculture and Livestock Development Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi said the move is part of a short-term plan by the government to increase agricultural productivity and reduce the cost of food production.
The CS further promised farmers that the government will continue subsidising fertiliser and retain prices at the current Sh3,500 until a lasting solution is found.
By importing fertiliser from Tanzania, Mr Linturi argued that Kenya will cut its dependence on European countries and Morocco.
“The government will import fertiliser from Tanzania starting July this year as a short-term measure. I do not see the need to import fertiliser from far away countries when we have it in Tanzania,” said Mr Linturi.
“Because of the cheaper raw materials, and the distance between Kenya and Tanzania, this will ensure we have cheap fertiliser for our farmers,” he added.
The announcement comes after Mr Linturi visited Itracom, the manufacturer of Fomi fertiliser in Tanzania.
He explained that the firm’s production model, which incorporates the use of organic manure and phosphorus, has been shown to have the potential to double crop production by enriching the soil.
“The fertiliser has increased food production by up to 39 per cent and reduced the cost of production in Tanzania,” he said.
Agronomists have said the continuous use of non-organic fertiliser is to blame for the deteriorating state of soil in the country as most of the imported types have the wrong supplements designed for soils in Europe and North America.
Last year, President William Ruto said his administration will import six million bags of fertiliser ahead of the long rains that start in March.
In the long term, Mr Linturi said, the government intends to invest in fertiliser production to reduce the high cost of food production in the country.
“Having a fertiliser manufacturing plant has the potential of spurring agricultural production by reducing the price of purchasing the critical farm input, resulting in reduced cost of food production,” he said.
Currently, the country relies heavily on fertiliser imports as various attempts to set up a fertiliser manufacturing plant have come a cropper due to various reasons.