Bett ac­cepts farmer’s pro­posal to es­tab­lish seed and fer­tiliser fund

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics Parliament -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kenya

© PressReader. All rights reserved.