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Tea fertilizer prices rise on high production costs

By For Citizen Digital

Tea fertilizer prices rise on high production costs
A picture of Purle Tea grown in Nandi County

Smallholder tea farmers are set to have their input costs rise in the next season as the cost of fertilizer is set to go up.

In new prices release by the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA), farmers will pay an average of Sh1,730 for a 50 kilogram bag of fertilizer up from Sh1,493 last year.

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According to KTDA, global fertilizer prices have been on the rise with the agency forced to factor that in pricing fertilizer under the subsidy program.

“This year the cost of a 50 kg bag is Sh1,730 on average compared to Sh1,43 last year as a result of increase in tender price from $214 in 2016 to $252 per metric ton. The increase is mainly due to change in crude oil prices ….leading to high cost of fertilizer production,” KTDA said in a statement.

The cost of fertilizer through the agency’s program has been steadily coming down from a high of S2,466 in 2011 to Sh1,493 last year.

KTDA has spent Sh2.6 billion on the fertilizer program, importing 1.5 million metric tons to be distributed to smallholder tea farmers.

Some 611,327 tea farmers are registered to access the subsidized fertilizer.

The current market price for similar fertilizer is Sh2,700 meaning tea farmers will enjoy a 56 percent discount despite the cost going up this year.

The quantity of fertilizer a farmer receives depends on the number of tea bushes owned with a 50 kilogram bag applied to 700 bushes.

Tea farmers will access the fertilizer through their registered tea factories in 15 tea growing counties, with farmers in Kiambu and Murang’a counties getting the lowest price at Sh1,685.

Tea farmers will access the fertilizer through their registered tea factories in 15 tea growing counties.

Tea production is expected to decline this year, owing to the acute drought at the start of the year.

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