Blow to tea farmers after KTDA suspends importation of fertilizer

A tea picking exercise .KTDA has suspended importation of fertilizer due to COVID-19 PHOTO COURTESY

Smallholders farmers across the country will be hard hit after Kenya Tea Development agency management services (KTDA-MS) suspended the importation of fertilizers for the year 2020.

According to KTDA, this is due to the disruption of the importation chain that has been occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through a letter to newsrooms, KTDA says the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic makes it impossible for the fertilizer to be delivered in time for applications by the farmers.

” In this regard, KTDA-MS sought and obtained expert advice from the tea research institute on the effect on the productivity of skipping one year of fertilizer application. The advice was that it’s possible to skip one year with no significant loss in yields subject to adequate rainfall,” read part of the statement.

However, it indicates that the subsequent application should not be delayed to avoid further yield losses.

KTDA-MS imports fertilizer on behalf of its over 600,000 smallholders tea farmers for application during the short rains in October-November of every year.

The bulk importation enables tea farmers to benefit from economies of scale, competitive prices and delivery rights as their tea buying centers.

Subsequently, on the bases of the advice, the board has suspended the tender of importation of fertilizer to next season thus, farmers will be refunded contributions they have made for the last seven months along with accrued interest effective end of the month of June 2020.