NAIROBI: The Kenya Tea Development Agency has imported 77,050 metric tonnes of NPK 26:5:5 fertiliser for the year 2015-16. This is a 13 per cent increase from last year’s importation. Last year, the agency imported 67,033.5 metric tonnes of the fertilizer for tea farmers in the country.
The first batch of the 77,050 metric tonnes, about 39,000 metric tonnes is being offloaded at the Kenya Ports Authority and will be distributed to 66 KTDA companies.The Sh2.3 billion consignment was imported from Russia.
Chai Trading Company, a subsidiary of KTDA, said the fertilizer is expected to reach farmers in the next two month. Speaking on Monday at the Mombasa Port, the company managing director Charles Mbui said the farmers are expected to pay less than Sh2,000 for a 50Kg bag of fertilizer this year.
Last year, he said, a bag of NPK fertilizer was being sold at Sh2,000 compared to Sh2,321 the previous year, due to high international prices, said Mbui. “We have this year imported a slightly cheaper fertilizer for our farmers. We have also increased the quantity of the consignment by 13 per cent,” he said.
This year, a metric tonne of the NPK fertilizer fetched USD353 (Sh35,000) compared to USD416 (41,600) last year, the prices do not include the transportation cost, Mbui said.
“By importing the fertiliser in bulk, KTDA is able to provide it at the best possible price to about 560,000 smallscale farmers,” he said.
Mbui said the price is based on international tender and which was awarded to the best evaluated bidder. “We have continued to enjoy the benefits of economies of scale which are then passed on to our farmers,” he said. KTDA has contracted 1,100 trucks to ferry the fertiliser from Mombasa port to the factories upcountry.
KTDA operations general manager Alfred Njagi said the amount of fertiliser each farmer gets is based on the number of tea bushes they have. On average, one 50kg bag of fertilizer is applied on 700 bushes.
“Every year, KTDA field services staff take orders from farmers for their fertilizer requirements in an exercise we call ‘fertilizer recruitment’ which takes place in November and December,” he said.