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The government will not import subsidised fertiliser this year, chairman of the Strategic Food Reserves Fund Noah Wekesa has said.

Wekesa said the farmers will have to buy the fertiliser from the open market.

He said although the government had been importing the fertiliser over the years, this time it will not be possible because of procurement challenges.

Wekesa spoke in Eldoret on Thursday after touring the NCPB depot in the region to oversee the purchase of maize from farmers by the board.

Last week, Attorney General Kihara Kariuki advised the Agriculture ministry not to import fertiliser through flawed procurement processes involving the firms contracted.

Read: Subsidised fertiliser is available, says NCPB

Kihara wrote to the ministry saying the importation tendering had been flawed and public money would be lost if the procurement for this year’s fertiliser was allowed to go on.

Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri had also revealed that the importation may not be possible because of procurement problems.

Read also: Kiunjuri puts NCPB staff on notice over sale of subsidised fertiliser

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Farmers now fear that the prices of fertiliser in the open market will be costly now that the NCPB will not supply them.

“NCPB usually helps to maintain lower prices lower through the supply of the subsidised fertilizer and now that there will be no importation, the prices are likely to skyrocket during the planting season,” the director of the Kenya Farmers Association Kipkorir Menjo said.

The government was to import about 200,000 metric tonnes of subsidised fertilizer especially the Diammonium phosphate (DAP) which is used in planting by farmers.

The planting season in the high producing areas of the North Rift starts in most areas at the end of February.

At NCPB farmers were to buy the subsidised DAP fertilizer at about Sh1,200 per 50kg bag but farmers fear that the price may go as high as sh 3,000 for the same quantity.

Menjo warned there may also be shortages of the commodity that may adversely affect food production this year.

Some of the farmers have asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to personally intervene and ensure they get the fertiliser as it would unaffordable for them in the open markets.

See more: Relief for farmers as government subsidises fertiliser prices

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