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Only 20% of farmers have access to subsidized fertiliser–CBK report

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fertilizer subsidy

By George Munene

According to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Agriculture Sector Survey of November 2022, only 20 per cent of farmers have had access to government-subsidized fertilizer. 

This was attributed to the difficulty in accessing these fertilisers. 

While the supply of subsidized fertilizer was reported in most parts of the country, accessing it has been a challenge for most farmers.

The program which was kicked off on 20th September following a directive by President William Ruto reduced the price of fertilisers from Sh 6,500 per 50kg bag to Sh 3,500. 

This was meant to cushion farmers from the skyrocketing fertiliser prices which had hit historic highs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Farmers and traders recommended that the government uses the last mile approach in the distribution of fertilizer by stocking the same in agrovets.

Currently, the fertiliser is availed through the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) Depots and Sub-depots to farmers registered with NCPB.

Growers who had access to subsidised fertiliser expect their output to increase by between 10 and 20 per cent. Although this would depend on rain as over 90 per cent of Kenyan farmers are reliant on rain-fed agriculture.

Supply chain constraints including high transport costs, and limited access to farm inputs, coupled with high input costs and weather conditions were found to be the main factors constraining agricultural production. 

Transport costs, input prices, and weather conditions accounted for over 40 per cent of the factors that significantly affected agricultural production.

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Market availability, proximity to markets, and labour costs were also found to have a significant impact on agricultural production. 

Land size had a moderate effect on production. 

Technology played a less significant role probably on account of the low adoption of technology in farming as did COVID-19.

The pandemic was not a significant factor in explaining agricultural production as the economy is fully operational following the lifting of all restrictions on movement.

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