President Ruto releases Sh2,500 fertiliser to farmers

President William Ruto

President William Ruto speaking at State House Nairobi on June 19, 2023. 

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

President William Ruto on Wednesday announced a reduction in the price of fertiliser from Sh3,500 to Sh2,500 per 50kg bag in a bid to revolutionise agriculture and reduce the high cost of living in the country.

Announcing the launch of the second phase of the subsidised fertiliser programme, the President urged farmers to consider increasing their use of the commodity to boost productivity.

“Since fertiliser is the game changer of agricultural productivity, this should translate to higher production in the next planting season. I encourage farmers to embrace better and greater use of fertiliser to increase yields in the coming seasons,” the president said during a press briefing at State House Nairobi.

The Head of State noted that the Kenya Kwanza administration's Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda recognises that the county’s poor economic performance is primarily due to the underperformance of agriculture, hence the need to boost production.

“Agriculture’s contribution to employment, incomes, foreign exchange, cost of living and industrialisation has two related implications,” he said.

“Neglecting to invest in agriculture deprives the economy of a tremendous opportunity to grow steadily, increasing unemployment, poverty and inequality and strategic interventions in agriculture can ignite the national economy and set it on the path to inclusive growth.”

Flanked by his deputy Rigathi Gachagua, Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi, Council of Governors chairperson Anne Waiguru, Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Mithika Linturi and other officials, the president urged farmers to take advantage of reduced fertiliser prices to double their use per hectare to increase agricultural production.

“In the long rain season, most farmers used one bag of fertiliser per acre. Data shows that if you double the fertiliser per acre, you’ll get more yield of between 12 and 25 bags of maize,” he added.

Short rains

“For the coming short rains, the government has embarked on the distribution of fertiliser to farmers throughout the country, with a view to ultimately delivering 2 million 50kg bags, at a subsidised cost of Sh 2,500.”

The Head of State also announced the launch of the second phase of the countrywide digital farmer registration exercise, saying the move will increase the reach of fertiliser to farmers.

Dr Ruto said following the launch of the first phase earlier this year, fertiliser reached farmers in time for planting, with two million 50kg bags delivered.

“Further, I am happy to announce that our partnerships with county governments to provide last-mile delivery of fertiliser to farmers will be complemented with the opening of more than 50 distribution centres at the grassroots,” he said.

Dr Ruto underscored the success of the collaboration between governments and farmers, noting that they are now implementing a national initiative to acquire 100 dryers that will be strategically distributed to various National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPD) depots across the country to serve maize farmers at subsidised and highly affordable rates.

“It is our initial and primary intervention to mitigate post-harvest losses, which usually claim as much as 30 per cent of produce harvested, especially with the onset of expected El Nino rains in the October-November-December season,” he said.

He said the government had succeeded in maximising farmers' earnings by eliminating middlemen in the distribution of inputs through ICT.