The government through the department of planning has announced plans to conduct the first ever census of crop growing farmers in Kenya in a move aimed at identifying genuine growers who will have access to subsidized fertilizer and market for their produce.
The farmers will be registered based on the acreage they own and the crops they grow.
The census will be taken on August 24th and 25th as part of the 2019 population and housing census. In the last census taken in 2009 only animal farmers (14 per cent) was taken while crop growers were left out by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
The headcount will help genuine farmers get first priority in distribution of subsidized fertilizer and market for their produce such as maize.
Last year, the government sold subsidized fertilizer to farmers at Sh1,200 down from Sh1,800 in 2017 while non-subsidized fertilizer costs Sh300 more.
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The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission for instance reveal that in the 2017/18 season cartels imported maize worth two billion shillings from Uganda and sold it to the National Cereals and Produce Board depots in Western Kenya at the expense of genuine farmers.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, farmers in Uganda use same maize varieties as those in Kenya and therefore it is difficult to distinguish the source of the produce delivered.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations agriculture contributes 26 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and another 27 per cent of GDP indirectly through linkages with other sectors. The sector employs more than 40 per cent of the total population and more than 70 per cent of Kenya’s rural people.