In a move aimed at bolstering agricultural productivity, the Kenyan government has called upon small-scale tea farmers to embrace the opportunity presented by subsidized fertilizer prices to amplify their yields.

On Thursday, the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) received a substantial consignment of 45,000 metric tons (900,000 bags) of fertilizer, marking the second installment for distribution to over 650,000 smallholder tea farmers nationwide.

Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture and Livestock Development, Mithika Linturi, emphasized the pivotal role of fertilizers in influencing harvest quantities during the flag-off ceremony for the shipment. He revealed that farmers could procure the subsidized fertilizer at tea buying centers starting Monday, further underscoring the government’s commitment to enhancing agricultural output.

Linturi highlighted the tangible connection between the volume of fertilizer application and resultant yields, emphasizing the government’s strategy to elevate harvests and alleviate the cost of living for citizens.

“By availing subsidized fertilizer, the government seeks to empower farmers to enhance productivity. We urge farmers to seize this opportunity and procure sufficient fertilizer, now priced at Sh.2500 per bag,” he urged, noting the favorable impact on both green leaf production and financial returns.

The Cabinet Secretary acknowledged ongoing governmental efforts towards comprehensive tea reforms, promising a synergy of legal policies and administrative measures that prioritize farmers’ welfare.

“In our continuous support for KTDA and farmers, the government ensures access to affordable fertilizers. The subsidy program has effectively reduced the price from Sh.3500 to Sh.2500 per 50kg bag,” he elaborated.

Linturi announced the government’s ambitious plan to distribute 7 million bags of fertilizer to farmers in 2024 during the long and short rains period. This initiative not only aims to fortify agricultural endeavors but also serves as a gesture of appreciation to farmers supporting the government’s mission to mitigate the cost of living.

Looking ahead, the Ministry plans to expedite the procurement of additional fertilizers for maize and potatoes. Linturi affirmed that by mid-February next year, sufficient fertilizer will be available for the second planting season.

In an innovative approach, the government is collaborating with county governments to facilitate last-mile delivery through a warehouse-based system, supported by the e-voucher mechanism. This collaborative effort involves governors establishing warehouses while the Ministry provides technical expertise for fertilizer dispensation.

Linturi shed light on various programs designed to enhance value addition, including supporting KTDA and farmers’ factories in installing processing lines for the production of orthodox tea. Recognizing the global demand for orthodox tea and its premium pricing, he emphasized the need for widespread factory installations to benefit tea farmers nationwide.