Kenya: Parliament Gives Govt. Ultimatum to Reinstate Fertilizer Subsidy

Members of Parliament in Kenya have demanded that the country’s president Uhuru Kenyatta reinstates the 5.7 billion shillings meant for fertilizer subsidy, which Treasury had previously removed from the supplementary budget, threatening not to pass the 138 billion mini-budget if the government does not do so by Tuesday next week.

The Agriculture Committee of the National Assembly had accused the Treasury of removing the entire funds that were meant to help farmers deal with the soaring prices of fertilizer. Despite reallocating the budgetary requests for the Ministry of Agriculture to receive the  Sh5.734 billion subsidy, Treasury had instead transferred the money to the security docket.

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“The committee had allocated Sh5.7 billion for fertiliser subsidy. But we are shocked that there is no single shilling allocated in Supplementary Budget I. We will paralyse the supplementary budget on Tuesday if nothing happens to reinstate the entire amount between now and then,” said Silas Tiren, the committee chairman.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine last month, fertilizer prices have hit an all-time high as a result of concerns of a disruption in the supply of the produce. In 2021, Russia was the largest exporter of nitrogen products or planting fertilizer. The risk of disruption to shipments comes as fertiliser costs have already been soaring because of the high prices of natural gas in Europe, which forced some plants to halt or curtail production.

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Prices in Kenya have subsequently increased by almost a hundred per cent from 4,000 shillings to 7,000 as farmers prepare to commence the planting season in the coming weeks.

The 5.7 billion shillings is expected to offer subsidies on 114,000 metric tons for nearly a million vulnerable farmers across the countries.

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