Kenya Tea Development Agency-allied farmers to get fertiliser
The second consignment of 45,000 tonnes of NPK fertiliser that Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) Management Services imported has arrived at the port of Mombasa.
Chief executive Lerionka Tiampati said the fertiliser will be distributed to KTDA-managed small-scale tea farmers countrywide.
The import was done on behalf of more than 600,000 smallholder tea farmers.
“Application of fertiliser to tea bushes at the outset of short rains is necessary to ensure consistent high quality and quantity of green leaf,” said Tiampati.
He said importing fertiliser in large quantities enables the agency to leverage economies of scale, thus purchasing the product at comparatively lower costs per unit.
In 2018, the average price of KTDA-procured 50kg bag of fertiliser was Sh1,770 against a market price of Sh2,800 for similar quantities.
The price per bag is usually determined by the cost of the input itself and other associated costs such as import duties, port charges, handling, warehousing and transport costs.
KTDA has so far imported 95500 tonnes. The first vessel carrying fertiliser docked at Kilindini, Mombasa Port on June 21 with 50,500 tonnes while the second with, 45,000 tonnes, docked on August 22.
A statement from the agency said the first batch of fertiliser has already been distributed to smallholder tea farmers, and the second, is being offloaded and packed in 50kg bags for immediate dispatch to the factories for onward distribution to the farmers.
The consignment includes an order that had been made by some local tea producers taking advantage of KTDA discounted bulk import.
Quantity of fertiliser that a farmer receives depends on the number of tea bushes owned. On average, a 50kg bag of fertiliser is applied to 700 tea bushes.
Fertiliser requirement is usually determined in November and December ahead of procurement the following year.