Coffee farmers in 32 counties to benefit from new input subsidy
Coffee farmers distressed by high input prices such as fertilizer and pesticides have been given a reprieve after Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya launched a subsidy scheme.
Speaking in Meru at the launch of the program at the Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) show field, Gitoro on Monday, the SC said registered coffee farmers will receive a card which will help them purchase fertilizers and subsidized pesticides from authorized dealers.
He said the ministry was implementing a directive from President Uhuru Kenyatta to start the 1 billion shilling prize pool.
“The new KPCU (Kenya Planters Cooperative Union) now registers farmers so they can benefit from the lower prices. Once registered, you will be given a (bank) card which you present to your company or factory to purchase the inputs. government will pay 40% and you will pay 60% of the cost,” he said.
Munya said 83,653 farmers in 32 coffee-growing counties will benefit from the subsidy scheme.
“We are not excluding any farmer. Small farmers and estate farmers will benefit from the scheme,” said Munya, who was accompanied by Timothy Mirugi, director of the new KPCU, and James Mutia, director of the Pyrethrum Branch, of Miraa and other industrial crops.
The CS revealed that farmers who lack financial means can benefit from the scheme by borrowing from the Cherry Advance Fund of 3 billion shillings to buy inputs.
Registration is underway in coffee factories across the country in order to reach as many farmers as possible.
“The cost of fertilizers has skyrocketed. As we prepare to launch a potato subsidy program in Meru, Nyandarua, Elgeyo Marakwet and Nakuru, we are learning lessons from the coffee sector,” Munya said.
Mr. Munya noted that the ministry will depend on the research it has undertaken to ensure that only quality agricultural inputs are supplied to coffee growing companies for distribution.
Mkarimu Coffee Estates Chairman Charles Mutwiri hailed the scheme, saying it was helpful for farmers who had long suffered at the hands of suppliers offering expensive and substandard inputs.
“We are happy with what CS Munya is doing in the ministry because farmers have been suffering for too long,” Mutwiri said.