Kenyan fertilizer manufacturers and stockists are staring at huge losses after government decided to import cheap fertilizer instead of offering subsidies.
Stakeholders in the industry are now seeking an urgent meeting with the government to discuss how to salvage the industry that is now facing imminent collapse.
A manufacturer speaking to “News Today” on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals said currently it costs above Sh 5,000/- to produce a 50-kg bag of fertilizer yet the price being offered by government is Sh 3,500/- way below the cost of production.
The official said the high cost of fertilizer was due mainly because of high taxation by the government an area where the government and the stakeholders can address and come up with a way forward.
He said that they have been on the ground with farmers and they have cleared said they are waiting for the cheap fertilizer that was flagged off on Thursday by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua who ordered it be sold to farmers at Sh 3,500/- instead of the market rate of Sh 6,500/-.
The official said the best was to address the issue was to offer the manufacturers a subsidy or purchase the fertilizer from them at the market rate and sell the same to farmers at the subsidised rate.
He said farmers have particular fertilizer brands they prefer because of quality issues and other support they receive from the manufacturers, and some are therefore uncomfortable using a brand of fertilizer they are not used to.
“I met a group of armers, while they appreciated the cheap fertilizer, they indicated that they prefer the brand they are used to with some flatly declining the brand offered by the government. To address such issues is to ensure each manufacturer is offered the subsidy to continue supplying his dependent farmers,” said the official.
The official said these are some of the issues they would like to discuss with the DP because fertilizer worth millions of shillings is already produced in readiness to this planting season.