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Probe launched into circulation of fake fertilizer

Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi. Photo:Courtesy

The Government has launched investigations into the fake fertilizer scandal that has rocked the country, warning that those found culpable will face the full wrath of the law.

Through the Ministry of Agriculture, the State was however quick to note the subsidized fertilizer programme that had benefited hundreds of farmers had not been affected by the scandal.

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In the last couple of weeks, reports have emerged that farmers were supplied with fake fertilizer by unscrupulous traders leading to a drop in crop production.

This came as it emerged that the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBs) has collected samples of the fertilizer said to be fake with the results expected next week.

According to the CS for Agriculture Mithika Linturi, his office had not received any complaints over the fertilizer subsidy programme that had been rolled across the country.

He said that the fake fertilizer story had been blown out of proportion adding that farmers had nothing to fear as they had received quality and genuine fertilizer from the State.

“We want to assure farmers that the government’s subsidized fertilizer is genuine and they should ignore the other stories though we have launched investigations into the same,” he said.

Linturi assured farmers that the government had imported more subsidized fertilizer which would arrive in the country by the first week of April.

“This year the government will be distributing over 12.5 million bags of subsidized fertilizer to farmers as demand has risen by over 200,000 acres,” he said.

The CS was addressing the press in Lake Naivasha Resort after a meeting with stakeholders on the Edible Oils Crop promotion.

He said that the government was keen to reduce by half the Sh150B used annually in the importation of edible oils through the introduction of sunflower and palm farming.

“Kenya Seeds Company has 70MT of the sunflower seeds which will be used for multiplication while the 500MT seeds will be distributed to registered farmers,” he said.

On his part, Gideon Menjo from the Presidential economic transformation (PET) secretariat said that they were targeting 1m acres under sunflower in five years.

He said that the country was using over Ksh 150 billion every year to import edible oils adding that this could be reduced if local production was increased.

“Edible oils account for over Ksh 150 billion import bill and the duty-free imports on the oil were meant to cushion consumers from the high prices,” he said.

Others who spoke were Nyeri Deputy Governor David Kinaniri said that the Council of Governors fully supported the edible oil programme as it would increase food production.

Antony Gitonga
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