As fertiliser is becoming more expensive to procure due to various factors, including the Russian-Ukrainian war and logistics bottlenecks, the New Kenya Planters Cooperative Union (KPCU) has decided to distribute subsidised fertiliser to coffee farmers. This is intended to increase both quality and quantity, which in turn increases farmers’ income.
Mary Nzomo, CEC member for agriculture in Trans Nzoia, urges all farmers to take advantage of this opportunity while they can. She explains that farmers only have to pay 60% of the price, while 40% is covered by the government. In this way, the government wants to protect Kenyan farmers by providing them with fertiliser quickly, as large fertiliser consumers such as India, Brazil and the US are buying up large quantities, reducing global supply.
The Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Peter Munya, explains that “agricultural inputs including fertilisers are major requirements to boost crop productivity. It is estimated that if used well, fertilisers increase food and cash crop yields by 30%, thus enhancing food and income security for the country.” The Mutheka coffee cooperative agrees, expecting “to increase from a mere 800,000 kilograms to over 3 million.” of raw coffee cherries.
Additionally, Mary Nzomo said that “the County Department of Agriculture and Cooperative Development would continue to offer support to our coffee farmers through training and provision of subsidised seedlings..” Some farmers have already shown interest in setting up a coffee processing facility, such as nurseries. With the help of the government in the form of seedlings and fertiliser, coffee farmers will be able to achieve their goals and produce more coffee with higher quality.
Nzomo added that due to the government’s efforts to diversify crops, coffee farming has been growing since 2014. So far, “the Department of Agriculture has distributed over 10,000 subsidised coffee seedlings …to encourage more farmers to embrace coffee farming.” According to KPCU, it”targets more than 80,000 farmers through the subsidised programme in the country and so far in the region of Trans Nzoia, they have been able to register more than 5,000 farmers.”
The initiative has been well-received by farmers, who recognise the government’s efforts to support Kenyan coffee farming and protect them from rising input costs.
Photo by: SuSanA Secretariat | Flickr