Written by Leonard Wamalwa and Carren Papai
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Farmers in West Pokot and Busia Counties have raised concern over the shortage of the government's subsidized fertilizer saying the little that is supplied only benefits farmers around the distribution points.
Speaking to reporters in Kitale, Lelan ward councilor Solomon Kura said that the fertilizer supplied in the area is not enough to meet the demands of the farmers in the entire county especially those from South Pokot, Central Pokot and Kacheliba whom he said that cannot catch up with the commodity whenever it is delivered.
"We are having a big shortage of fertilizer in West Pokot County because the amount being supplied does not reach farmers evenly in the entire area. By the time farmers from South Pokot or Sigor and Kacheliba arrive in Kapenguria, the supplied fertilizer is already consumed by farmers around the Kapenguria depot that has been the only one supplying the commodity in the entire region," Councilor Kura told journalists.
He pointed out that the supply of the fertilizer should be decentralized from Kapenguria so that other farmers from other parts of the county can also manage to access it through the other two depots of the county including Kacheliba and Sigor so that they do not strain to travel long distances to Kapenguria with no assurance of getting the fertilizer.
He said that however, little the fertilizer allocated to the county,farmers from different parts can also get a fair share if it is distributed from their nearby NCPB depots.
Crop farming especially maize is practiced majorly in South Pokot, West Pokot and Central Pokot as compared to Kacheliba and other parts of West Pokot County.
Elsewhere at Malaba in Busia County, National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) Manager Nelson Mwenga has refuted previous allegations from the farmers on fertilizer shortage in the area.
Speaking to the press in his office Wednesday, Mwenga revealed that the allegations made by the farmers were baseless and malicious adding that the fertilizer had in fact not yet arrived from the port.
The manager asserted that they had a problem of transporting the fertilizer from Mombasa port and confirmed that the problem is now solved and the commodity is available for the farmers.
"The fertilizer is in for the farmers although not enough but we will work on that to ensure that farmer are satisfied with our services,’’ he said
Meanwhile, as the farmers still lamenting on poor services, discrimination and favoritisms on fertilizer distributions, he has called on the farmers going to purchase fertilizer to be punctual and adhere by the rules and regulations of the board on the closure time.
‘’Let them come on time and we shall serve them equally in fact we are trained on the task’’ said the manager.
Previously the farmers had complained that the fertilizer was being sold to influential personnel on the expense of the common farmer.
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