Tea farmers across the country have expressed gratitude to the government upon a request to have a Sh1 billion subsidy on fertilizer prices.
Speaking Monday during the official opening of a five- day induction programme of Directors from 54 registered factories across the countries, David Muni Ichocho, Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) Chairman said that the buying price of the manure will go down once granted the offer.
Muni noted that the cost of fertilizer is now at Sh3, 072 which is too high for farmers but with the subsidy, the cost will go down to at least Sh2, 500.
“Fertilizers are ready to be disturbed to farmers, we have 65, 000 metric tons that we have received. We are optimistic that the government will consider our request and give us the subsidy,” he said.
The chairman also urged farmers not to sell the fertilizers so that they can use it to enhance productivity of quality tea.
“We have a fertilizer deficit since we had ordered 1.7 million bags, but only 1.3 million bags came. With the 65,000 farmers across the country, selling of the fertilizers means that some will lack,” he added.
He promised that KTDA management will mobilize logistics to ensure the fertilizers reach farmers without any hitch.
According to Muni, they are now using the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) to ferry the fertilizer from Mombasa across the country and not by bus as another way of cutting down the cost.
At the same time, Muni praised farmers for the good cooperation saying it has yielded fruit as income has increased.
At the same time, the chairman mentioned that the price of the tea which was earlier 1.9 dollars has now gone up to over 2.5 dollars. This has increased the income to about sh65 per kilogram of tea.
“Our objective as KTDA is to help farmers get more earnings, hence the need to have this induction so that we can take the inputs of the directors on what is to be done to have more earnings,” said Muni.
He added that they are also embracing the vision of the new board which is to ensure farmers are empowered.
“We want to ensure that we bring all the policy fundamentals which will be able to assist us reform and move forward,” he added.
The chairman also said that they will deal with the issue of improving infrastructure and look for markets to ensure that farmers get more returns.