KENYA - Farmers will this year access government fertiliser through the electronic subsidy management system following its successful piloting last year.
Agriculture secretary Willy Bett said farmers will have to register at the nearest National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depot to benefit from the new system as the State moves to phase out physical issuance of the supplement.
Safaricom won the contract to develop the electronic subsidy management system last year. Distribution of fertiliser through the system started in March last year and was piloted in Uasin Gishu County.
The move, Mr Bett said, is aimed at locking out impostors who have been benefiting from the subsidy fertiliser at the expense of real farmers.
The platform is also aimed at curbing malpractices such as re-selling of the supplement as the system can track the farmers using phones.
“We are going to use the new e-subsidy platform to distribute fertiliser to farmers this year. The pilot programme was successful and we are banking on that success to roll it countrywide,” said Mr Bett.
Mr Bett added that farmers will be vetted and their details fed into a database before being issued with a unique code to access the commodity, enhancing transparency in distribution.
“This will create efficiency along the value chain of fertiliser distribution,” he said.
The system will have a stock management module with a database of inputs suppliers in the country and will show information on stocks available for ease of access, helping in estimating requirements and shortfalls.
Once details have been captured, the growers will receive a text message from the service provider confirming their registration details, the agro-dealers participating in their locality and availability of fertiliser.
The State has already ordered 102,000 tonnes of planting fertiliser that will be imported before March for distribution, with the planting season expected to start around that time.
The digital system is expected to be both mobile phone and web-based, with databases of targeted farmers and agro-traders.
Agro-dealers who participated during the pilot stage will secure their stock from the already government-procured fertiliser at various NCPB depots.