FARMers in north rift kenya maize farmers trendMaize farmers in the North Rift will have to wait longer before they can start planting following the delay to distribute subsidised fertiliser for another week.

Hundreds of farmers who flocked to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) Eldoret depot yesterday left a frustrated lot as heavy rains pounded the region, signalling the start of the planting season.

Most farmers practise dry planting and the delay has disrupted their plans.

“We have been waiting for the fertiliser for the last two months. The rains are now here and we are still being told to wait,” said Stephen Nyolei, a farmer from Kiplombe, Uasin Gishu County.

The rains have been pounding the region for the last two days.

A few lucky farmers were able to get some fertiliser that was left over from last season’s stock. NCPB managing director Newton Terer said 2.1 million bags were expected at the port of Mombasa on Friday.

Distribution problems

He said 200,000 bags from last season’s stock had been distributed, with the North Rift getting 20,000 bags.

“The fertiliser will arrive in Mombasa on Friday and will be delivered to NCPB depots latest Wednesday next week,” said Mr Terer. He said the input will be imported in three batches to minimise distribution problems.

The government subsidised fertiliser is selling for Sh1,800 per bag while retailers are selling it for between Sh2,400 and Sh3,000.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett recently assured farmers that an additional 28,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser would be distributed to various parts of the country before the planting season.

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“I’m glad to inform farmers that 104,000 tonnes of fertiliser has already been distributed to various NCPB depots,” said Mr Bett last week at the Eldoret ASK Show.

But farmers in the North Rift Wednesday complained of “uncoordinated” importation and distribution of the input, accusing the government of neglecting the agriculture sector.

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