Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Willy Bett has challenged county governments to facilitate formation of cooperative societies where the subsidized farm input imported by the national government can be delivered to save on transport costs incurred by the farmers.
Speaking at the National Cereals and Produce Board, Eldoret depot Bett said the move was intended to seal loophole used by cartels in the past to benefit from the government subsidy at the expense of genuine farmers.
He asked regional governments that have not yet facilitated the formation of societies to hasten the process for the benefit of the farming community who have suffered for long at the hands of unscrupulous traders who were buying the farm inputs at the NCPB depots and later re-sell to the farmers at exorbitant prices.
“Once counties from maize and wheat growing regions forms cooperative societies, the government will transport the imported consignment of subsidized fertilizer from Mombasa port directly to the cooperative societies stores to save the farmers on transport costs instead of travelling to the NCPB depot to purchase the same commodity,” said Bett who was accompanied by Uasin Gishu H.E Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno and NCPB managing director Newton Terer.
The CS asked the farmers to help the national and county governments to root out cartels colluding with some disgruntled NCPB officials to divert subsidised fertiliser meant for the farmers in the country.
“The only way to cut off the cartels from accessing the fertiliser subsidy that is imported in the country by the national government is for you farmers to register with your respective cooperative societies and access the inputs at affordable prices,” advised Bett.
Uasin Gishu Deputy Governor H.E Daniel Chemno revealed that the devolved unit had already rolled out a programme where the local farmers will access subsidized planting maize seeds and fertilizer at their respective cooperative societies.
The county, H.E Chemno said, has entered into a partnership with maize producing company where it will be purchasing the seeds and re-selling the same to the farmers at subsidized prices to save the them from the cartels.
“We have already made a milestone as a county by rolling out a massive programme where farmers are accessing farm inputs at their respective cooperative societies at subsidized prices unlike in the past when they used to travel to Eldoret to access the commodity,” concludes H.E Chemno.