Subsistence farmers who are unable to procure farm inputs will now enjoy an increased input package of Sh8,000 per acre of land an up of Sh1,500 of the previous package according to National Agricultural Accelerated Input Access Programme(NAAIAP).
This is aimed at addressing food insecurity and poverty among the resource poor farmers who cannot afford to purchase fertilizers and certified seeds.
The recommendations were approved by the National Steering Committee chaired by the Agriculture secretary, Dr. Wilson Songa at the Agriculture Resource Information Center who also recommended new costs of top dressing fertilizers and maize seeds.
“One bag of basal fertilizer will now cost Sh4, 000, a bag of topdressing fertilizer 2,500, while 10kgs maize seed will cost Sh1, 500,” according to NAAIAP coordinator Rose Mwangi.
The committee also recommended that in the advent of shooting in prices of any commodity, beneficiaries should chip in to lower the burden to the vulnerable farmers.
“Should the prices of any of the commodity be above the ceiling, beneficiaries should chip in so as to access the inputs, in a bid to address food security,” recommended the committee.
The launch of the programme has seen about 500,000 small scale farmers across the country benefiting from relief fertilizers and seeds worth one billion shillings across the four years.
Mwangi said that the programme will be supported financially by the government and other donors to ensure the small holder farmers particularly those living in deplorable conditions at the height of the weakening shilling get access and affordability of key inputs in a bid to encourage their participation in agriculture as a way of income to reduce poverty rates.
“ With three sources of funding from government, and donors totaling to Sh.2.12billion, farmers will greatly realize benefits from the programme, the Government has allocated Sh350million, while the European/World Bank has released Sh910m during the current financial year’’, she added.
NAAIAP has been building farmers’ capacity to mobilize their own resources for re-investment in agricultural inputs in the successive seasons after the grant. This has seen small holders in Central and Eastern provinces making spot contributions for purchasing subsidized fertilizer in bulk for economies of scale.
Moreover, farmers’ adoption of various resource mobilization strategies, especially savings mobilization where they re-direct part of the savings for purchase of inputs have also been possible through the programme . Part of the savings mobilized is used for table banking where farmers borrow for various households needs.
The government, with the support of various donors, who included World Bank and European Union has spent over Sh3.7billion in the last four years in supporting vulnerable farmers in 104 districts across the country.
The programme supports at least 1,000 vulnerable farmers per district with an acre of land under maize crops. The resource farmers must be selected by stakeholders forum and the community. The actual voucher values given to farmers will vary depending on the types of inputs procured, prevailing market prices and guidelines given by the programme management.
The government is now calling on farmers to take advantage of areas with high prices.