The National Assembly Agriculture committee has summoned CS Mwangi Kiunjuri to appear before it on Monday next week to explain the cause of delays in importing subsidized fertilizer.
Addressing a press conference at Parliament buildings on Thursday afternoon, committee chairman Adan Haji said Kiunjuiri is expected to explain why the ministry failed to put alternative measures if it knew the contract of the fertiliser importer could lapse by January this year.
“The situation is now at crisis level. This ministry has been trying to import the fertiliser but we have now been told that this year it is not possible. We have been told the company had issues and the Attorney General was still scrutinizing the contract,” Adan said.
Kiunjuri was accompanied by committee members Janet Sitienei (Turbo), Justus Murunga (Matungu),Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo), Brighton Yegon (Konoin), Paul Mwrigi (Igembe South) and Daniel Kamuren (Mogotio).
On Monday Kiunjuri confirmed the government will not be buying fertiliser for this season.
“As a ministry, we were ready to procure the subsidised fertiliser by last year October but the process was halted due to investigations. However, all is not lost as we can still buy the fertiliser through a specially permitted system under Article 114 of Public Procurement. But this can only be authorised by the Treasury to ensure farmers have fertiliser within 21 days to the time of planting because the rains are unpredictable,” Kiunjuri said.
The MPs expressed fears that the prices of fertilizer by local traders were likely to go up.
Farmers in the larger Rift Valley will start planting from mid-February to March.
The National Cereals and Produce Board sells a 50kg bag of subsidised planting fertiliser at Sh1, 800 and top fertiliser at Sh1, 500.