Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on Friday flagged off thousands of bags of cheap fertilizer destined for the country's agricultural breadbaskets.
Speaking when he saw off the train transporting the subsidized fertilizers upcountry at Mombasa Railway Terminus, the DP said the government has hastened the distribution of the affordable farm input so that farmers could access them in time for the planting season set to start next month.
Mr Gachagua said they expected most of the farmers in the 12 pilot counties to get the fertilizers by mid next month.
"The administration is focused on boosting agricultural productivity to ensure the cost of food comes down and ultimately we reduce the cost of living," said the DP.
The first batch of 17,840 bags carried by Kenya Railways wagons are destined for Nakuru County. Another 17,840 bags are headed to Webuye in Bungoma.
Other counties set to benefit from the subsidy programme are Narok, Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia, West Pokot, Migori, Kakamega, Bomet, Kericho, Elgeyo Marakwet and Nandi.
The government plans to distribute at least 6 million bags of subsidized fertilizers as it aims to significantly reduce the cost of production of staple foods such as maize and other cereals.
Farmers will buy the fertilizers at a reduced cost of Ksh 3, 500 per bag. This is down from the Ksh 6,000 market price.
“We ask our farmers to take advantage of this programme which aims at increasing production in their farms. The price of unga will come down. So far it has been reducing and we expect the prices to go down farther,” added the DP.
The Deputy President earlier visited ETG and Yara fertilizer Warehouses in Jomvu Sub County, Mombasa to check the packaging of the fertilizers in readiness for transportation to the pilot counties.
In addition to making cheap fertilizers accessible, the DP said the companies were creating jobs for the youths.
He challenged the firms to employ more youths in order to meet the March 15 deadline for blending and packaging the farm ingredient.
The DP was accompanied by Cabinet Secretary for Youth Affairs, Sports and Arts Ababu Namwamba, Principal Secretary for Crop Development Philip Harsama and Principal Secretary for Cabinet Affairs Julius Korir. Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir and Jomvu MP Badi Twalib and the Managing Director Kenya National Trading Corporation Pamela Mutua, were also present.