Small-scale tea farmers in Kenya are set to benefit from subsidized fertilizer as the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) has received a consignment of fertilizer.
According to KTDA the consignment which is 47,800 tons (equivalent to 956,000 50kg bags) will be distributed to over 650,000 smallholder tea farmers throughout the country.
The ship carrying the fertilizer docked at the port of Mombasa on Monday in preparation for offloading and subsequent distribution. The distribution process was officially flagged off today by Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture and Livestock Development, Mithika Linturi.
During the flag-off ceremony, Linturi revealed that the government aims to boost tea harvests this year, which has led to the decision to provide subsidized fertilizer to farmers across the country.
He explained that the total fertilizer consumption by farmers is estimated to be over 95,000 metric tons, and two ships have been secured to meet this demand. One of the ships has already arrived, and the other is expected in two weeks.
Linturi said timely fertilizer application is important, particularly with the onset of the El Ni no rains. He urged farmers to collect their fertilizer promptly to maximize its impact on production.
“This is timely as the rains have just set in, and the application of fertilizer at the right time has a serious bearing on production. We are pleading with the farmers to double their efforts and pick up the fertilizers on time so that we can boost our production this year” said Linturi.
Additionally,he reiterated that the government is actively working on tea reforms, which include the development of legal policies and administrative mechanisms to ensure that farmers receive optimal benefits from their work.
“The government continuously strives to support KTDA and farmers so that they can access fertilizer at affordable prices. Last year, the 50kg bag was priced at Ksh. 3500, but the government’s subsidy program has led to a reduction, and we are now selling fertilizer at Ksh. 2500,” he said.
Linturi urged farmers to take advantage of the government’s subsidy program to boost production.