Small scale tea farmers across the country will wait longer for fertiliser from the Kenya Tea development agency (KTDA) due to a delay in tendering. The agency started the tendering process for the supply the commodity usually sourced from abroad a week ago. The earliest the farmers can get the subsidised fertiliser according to officials at the agency, is August because of the lengthy procurement process. "This is a normal procurement process and from my experience on such matters, the farmers should expect the fertiliser by July or August...we are asking them to be patient," said Eric Langat, Kapkoros tea factory chairman. Farmers will now have to pay more for the fertiliser available in the open market. A 50 kilo bag of NPK fertiliser retails between Sh2,400 to Sh2,800 compared to KTDA’s Sh1,700 to Sh2, 000 and which is advanced to farmers on credit. In 2019, KTDA imported 95,937 tonnes which is 1, 918,734 million bags which was distributed to its more than 619,000 farmers supplying tea its 69 tea factories across the country at a cost of Sh3.822 billion. This year, KTDA in the international tender advertised in the local dailies seeks to import 85, 000 tonnes. “KTDA management services intend to prequalify firms for supply of approximately 85,000 metric tons of NPK 26:5:5 chemically compounded fertiliser to small scale tea farmers for the year 2021,” reads the advertisement signed by the group’s head of procurement and logistics Brown Kanampiu. Bidders have until Monday to submit their proposals. The agency did not import the input last year due the outbreak of Corona virus which restricted international trade.. KTDA refunded its growers Sh1.3 billion earlier deducted from them which was to go towards the importation.
Source: The Star