Before you vote: The truth about cheap fertiliser

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The price of a 50 kilogram bag of fertiliser depends on whether it is subsidised by the government or not.

 Is 50 kilo bag of fertiliser available to farmers at Sh1,800?

 “…. We have progressively enhanced fertiliser subsidy and seed subsidy, from Sh6000 in 2008. Today fertiliser is available to farmers at Sh1,800.”

–        Deputy President William Ruto at the launch of the Jubilee manifesto on June 27

Currently, the price of a 50 kilogram bag of fertiliser depends on whether it is subsidised by the government or not. Two of the most used fertilisers in maize farming are di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) which is used during planting, and calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN), which is applied as top dressing, or on the surface of the soil after the plants have emerged.

At market rates, a bag of DAP costs upwards of Sh3,000.  For example, a survey around agricultural and veterinary shops on Nairobi’s Haile Selassie Avenue found DAP costing between Sh3,200 to Sh3,600 per 50kg bag, while calcium ammonium nitrate cost between Sh2,250 and Sh2,700.

COUNTY EXTENSION OFFICERS

According to Prof Paul Kimurto of Egerton University, farmers are allowed to obtain subsidised fertiliser from depots of the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) after county extension officers have verified their acreage.

Currently, fertiliser sold at the NCPB depots costs Sh1,800 per 50 kg bag of DAP and Sh1500 per bag of CAN.

Regarding the Deputy President’s claim, news reports from October 2008 show that the government subsidised the price of a 50kg bag of di-ammonium phosphate from Sh6,400 to Sh4000.

Since then, the government has continued to subsidise fertiliser.  Historical media reports show subsidised 50 kg bags of DAP fertiliser were made available in 2009 (Sh2,500), 2010 (Sh2,500), 2012 (Sh2,450), 2013 (Sh2,500), 2014(Sh2,480), 2015 (Sh1,800) and 2017(Sh1,800). So the Deputy President’s claim is true.

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