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North rift farmers want easy access to seeds and fertilizers

Maize farmers in North Rift Kenya have called for the decentralisation of fertiliser and seed distribution depots. They said this would help them cut down the cost of transportation. The farmers said despite the subsidies offered by the national government for the fertiliser, transporting it was still costly from the depots to their farms. Currently, farmers who opt for seeds and Government-subsidised fertilisers have to pick them from the National Cereals and Produce Board depots in Kapenguria, Sigor, Kitale, Moi’s Bridge and Eldoret among other big centres. Michael Murithi, a small-scale maize farmer in Cherangany, said it was only economical for vehicle owners to ferry the inputs but expensive for small-scale farmers, who had to hire transport or use public service vehicles.

“It becomes even cheaper to buy fertilisers from traders in our small market centres than buying the Government subsidies because the transportation charges tend to increase the overall costs,” he said. And according to Paul Sitienei, a farmer from Kesogon, decentralising the depots only benefited farmers with bigger resources at the expense of those who practised agriculture on a medium scale. “The Government-subsidised fertilisers are welcome but it would even be better if they could have containers in small towns where they can be easily obtained by local farmers, including those who cultivate for subsistence,” he said. The county government has built five warehouses, one in each of the five sub-counties, and pledged to distribute the fertilisers through them.

via Smart Harvest