His Excellency Governor Francis Kimemia’s vision to re-establish agriculture as the dominant component of Nyandarua’s economy got a boost today when he launched subsidized fertilizer for the County’s farmers.
Speaking at the National Cereals and Produce Board stores in Ol’Kalou, the Governor noted that Nyandarua’s farmers have for years grappled with low returns due to price fluctuations and information asymmetry on markets; low quality, exploitative non-standard packaging; traditional farming methods; lack of value addition on agricultural produce; and inadequate support and extension services.
Ahead of his election last August, Governor Kimemia had pledged to revive the sector through research, subsidized farm inputs, mechanization, value addition and best practices.
Over 70 per cent of County residents draw their livelihood directly or indirectly from agriculture.
It directly contributes to 25 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product and 65 per cent of export earnings and is key to His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda on food security.
“We stand here today to witness the fulfilment of my commitment to enhance access to farm inputs and subsidized services, without distortion of the market,” he said to cheers from farmers in attendance.
The subsidized fertilizer is expected to improve productivity and through it farm incomes for food security.
This financial year, the County Government procured 13,066 bags of fertilizers (both DAP and NPK), each weighing 50 kilograms.
“Ours is a deliberate effort to supplement the National Government allocation of 42,000 bags, which is far below our annual demand of 240,000 bags,” he said.
The County subsidized fertilizer costs Kshs 1500/=, in harmony with the National Fertilizer Subsidy Programme.
County Subsidized Fertilizer Ward Vetting Committees (CSFWVC) have been formed to oversee distribution of the fertilizer across the County.
Members will include the Ward Administrator (chairperson), Ward Agricultural Extension Officer (secretary), area Chief, one Church leader, a local leader drawn from community-based organizations, a farmers’ representative, a revenue officer and the area Member of County Assembly.
“Each ward will get 520 bags of the fertilizer. An eligible farmer can get a maximum of 2 bags to ensure many beneficiaries benefit,” said the Governor.
The County head said he is under no illusion that the fertilizer will be sufficient for all farmers.
“More resources will be added to the Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries in order to gradually increase our commitment to subsidize our farmers’ access to fertilizer,” he said.
In the immediate, priority has been given to vulnerable groups, including resource-poor famers; people living with disability or living with disabled persons; old persons or people living with them; internally displaced persons; women and youth.
The County Government, through the Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, will assist farmers by transporting the fertilizer to all wards in order to reduce on additional logistical costs for farmers.