Following a public outcry of the farmers and the businesses over the fading of fertilizers before reaching its intended recipients, the newly appointed Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Nkaku Kabi blamed the supplier for the vanishing of the fertilizers.
Kabi said he had received news about the farmers and entrepreneurs spending nights at the gate waiting for fertilizers. He stressed that the supplier had been given two weeks to deliver the fertilizers failing which the termination of the contract shall follow. He said the ministry promised to give out fertilizers with discount yet until date that had not happened.
“I have already spoken to the Ministry of Finance about the water tanks the supplier should have given to the farmers where we have learnt that they have thus far only managed to handout 4000 which is not enough, so we believe that if they cannot give enough then they will have to pass the contract to other people who will proceed with it,” he said.
Kabi said if the structure used by the former Agriculture Minister Likopo Mahase reduces chaos then they shall proceed with it but if they find faults with it then they will have to let it go.
Meanwhile, farmers have been waiting for the fertilizers for weeks on end to no avail.
According to an anonymous farmer from Leribe district, the agreement was that the Ministry would sell the fertilizers to entrepreneur middlemen who would distribute them to farmers for a small fee. However, two weeks into the waiting, a select number of them had begun getting the fertilizers direct from the ministry under questionable terms while the rest await the procedure as previously agreed to unfold.
“We as the businesses were supposed to buy and distribute to the local farmers and now the government has decided that they are starting with the block farmers, which was not our agreement,” the farmer said.
He explained that it was only after over 14 nights that they received the report that they should go back home and come back after the 25 October. According to these farmers, the ministry does not inform them on why only the block farmers will be allowed to buy.
Responding to the matter the Ministry of Agric’s Public Relations Officer Lereko Masopha affirmed that the agreement was made between the businesses that they should distribute fertilizers to the farmers in their villages.
“The biggest challenge is that farmers who should buy from the local businesses claim that they do not get fertilizers from the villages, we therefore allowed the farmers to buy directly from the ministry and for now we have opened for them and we will call the business thereafter,” he said.
Masopha agreed that the number of famers buying from the businesses is higher than the block farmers and in this way a large number of famers is suspended from buying until the given time.