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Thursday, 30 April 2015

Sipili farmers now able to access subsidized fertilizer through cooperative

By Moses Ndung’u

Access to subsidized government fertilizer has always been a challenge to smallholder farmers. Most farmers are usually forced to travel long distances to look for subsidized fertilizer at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB). In most cases they are forced to wait for long duration before receiving fertilizer.
Farmers who are lucky to get the subsidized government also have to contend with high transport costs. These has always demoralized most farmers who end up growing impatient and thus decide to buy fertilizer from other businessmen who sell to them at exorbitant prices.
Subsidized government fertilizer being offloaded from a trailer
The problems experienced by smallholder farmers in accessing the subsidized fertilizer in Sipili area of Ol-Moran Ward, Laikipia West Sub County has partly been addressed by Sipili Cereal Bank and Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society.

Laikipia Produce and Marketing Cooperative Society has so far disbursed 750 bags of subsidized government fertilizer worth Ksh 1,350,000.  Most farmers have been spending as much as Ksh 3,200 to buy fertilizer from traders but now they are able to get the subsidized fertilizer.
Most farmers who had gone through the painful ordeal of haggling with the middlemen are usually spotted leaving the cooperative store, a sign of relief clearly showing on their faces as they tuck their fertilizer onto motorbikes and vehicles.
 “I went to Nyahururu to get my fertilizer but got none, for three days I travelled back and forth to no avail. I have now managed to get the fertilizer through the cooperative,” said Mr. Mbogo, a member of Laikipia Produce and Marketing Cooperative Society.
It is now evident that the cooperative is a blessing to both the cooperative members and non-members, this was poked into the bigger picture when the non-members received the fertilizers and other inputs at the society with zero hindrance. For Sipili and the huge Ng’arua extension, the cooperative is a blessing to the society and a new power for the community.
Subsidized government fertilizer being offloaded
As the rains fall and the environment is green again, the farmers have now a reason to smile and be grateful in reminiscence of last year’s crippling drought that almost derailed farmers’ hopes.
“This year I managed to buy the subsidized government fertilizer through the cooperative. I managed to save a lot of money and time going to Nyahururu to look for the subsidized fertilizer but thanks to the cooperative I was able to avoid the extra cost,” said Naomi Ngonyo, member of Laikipia Produce and Marketing Cooperative Society.
The government has reduced prices of subsidized fertilizer to spur productivity and close the cycle of food shortages. The Laikipia County government provided transport to Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society from Nanyuki to Sipili town.
The Laikipia Produce and Marketing cooperative society emerged from the work undertaken by Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) through Ng’arua Maarifa Centre with the support of the Ford Foundation’s Expanding Livelihoods for Poor Households Initiative (ELOPHI).
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