Bett accepts farmer’s proposal to establish seed and fertiliser fund
Agriculture CS Willy Bett (pictured) has agreed to a proposal by a Kericho farmer for the ministry to set up a fertiliser and seed kitty.
Appearing before the Senate Agriculture committee with farmer Gideon Keter, Bett said the subsidy programme for farmers is underfunded.
Keter, who petitioned the Senate, wants a fund similar to the CDF to be established to address the perennial shortage of farm inputs.
“The shortage of the farm inputs, including fertiliser and planting seeds is because of underfunding. It is important to note that agriculture is the leading employer and contributes to more than 26 per cent of our GDP,” Keter told the committee chaired by Tans Nzoia Senator Henry Ndiema.
He said the method used to distribute the fertiliser should be changed to reach the grassroots. National Cereals and Produce Board managing director Newton Terer was present. “To address some of these challenges, I am proposing the creation of a fund to be called the Fertiliser and Seeds Fund purely to finance the purchase and distribution of the inputs,” Keter said.
He said the NCPB locks out many poor farmers due to cartels and middlemen. Keter proposed a subsidy be distributed with the 23,082 public primary schools in the country used as distribution centres and that the fertiliser be supplied to farmers three months before the planting season. “It is easier to vet the parents and the NCPB can use agents to visit schools and target homes of small-holder farmers,” Keter said.