KENYA – President William Ruto has reassured Kenyans that food prices have begun to decrease following a looming bumper harvest that is expected this year, thanks to the fertilizer subsidy program.
Ruto was speaking to Kiambu residents on August 17 lauding the government’s intervention that saw fertilizer prices fall from Sh7,000 to 3,500, farmers from across the country cultivated 200, 000 more acres which he says has led to improved food production.
According to the head of state, this year, the country is expecting a total production of 61 million bags, up from 44 million bags harvested in 2022, which he says will have a direct effect on the amount of food in the country.
“Last year, we harvested 44 million bags because farmers could not afford high fertilizer costs at the time. This year, however, due to the intervention measures we have put in place, including subsidizing fertilizer costs, we expect the harvest to increase from 44 million bags to 61 million bags,” Ruto said.
The president consequently revealed that his administration was working to increase fertilizer distribution in the country from the current 3.5 million bags to 6.5 million by next year.
He, therefore, urged farmers throughout the country who have yet to register for the program to do so to benefit from it.
On August 2, President Ruto also launched the second phase of the fertilizer subsidy program that reduces the price of the commodity for farmers countrywide further from Sh3,500 to Sh2,500, a whopping 29% decline.
According to the head of state, this will boost farmers’ produce during the short rains season that is soon to kick off.
The president has also added that his government will increase the farmers’ credit kit from Sh2 million to Sh10 million so that farmers can access affordable credit loans to buy farm Inputs.
Maize prices drop by 15% as harvesting kicks off
Meanwhile, a spot check by the Kenya News Agency (KNA) in Narok, the country’s cereal basket has reported that the price of maize has dropped by KES1000 as part of the country’s harvesting season kicked off.
The drop reflects a 15% drastic shift in maize prices from KES 6,500 to KES 5,500 per 90-kilogram bag in two months.
In addition, KNA reported that the maize price for a 2kg tin is selling at KES160, down from Sh200 two months ago.
However, traders are skeptical about the sustainability of supply arguing that prices of farm outputs might rise again because, in some parts of the county, crops have dried up on farms before maturing due to a lack of rain.
According to traders, farmers were anticipating a good harvest this season because the government provided subsidized fertilizers on time, but unfortunately, in some parts of the county, crops dried up on the farm due to a lack of rain.
“It is a red alert because maize farmers have not harvested enough on their farms, and we might travel outside the county and buy maize.”