Farmers in Bomet County through their national umbrella the Kenya National Farmers’ Federation (KENAFF) Bomet branch has appealed to the government to release subsidized fertilizers to boost their farm outputs.
Addressing the media in his office, KENAFF Bomet branch chairman David Toroto acknowledged the recent reforms in the tea sector and the input by the government to realize them.
However, Mr. Tiroto faulted the Ministry of Agriculture for failing to relieve farmers from spending a lot of money in acquiring fertilizers to supplement their crops.
“Even as the reforms are in place, there is another very important element for the reforms to be complete and serve the intended purpose, the issue of subsidized fertilizers,” said Tiroto.
Over six years ago under the old act governing tea growers in the country, they used to receive fertilizers that they used on the crop.
Tiroto noted that over this period farmers used to earn a good bonus from their crops as a result of topping their tea with fertilizer from the government.
“Apart from making good harvest, farmers used to plug quality tea which helped them to fetch good prices in the world market hence good pay, we have backslidden now as the sector,” explained Tiroto.
Farmers in this sector are predicting low production from the crop in the coming years if the issue is not addressed.
“As farmers, we are urging our government to facilitate the release and the issuance of these subsidized fertilizers. The move will not only benefit farmers but the country at large in terms of export income,” added Tiroto.
This move by farmers comes as even tea is the most valuable agricultural export from the country. Kenya is the largest exporter of tea in the world accounting for 22% of the total world tea exports.
The tea industry contributes to around 4% of the country’s GDP and 26% of the country’s export earnings.