Improving the Effectiveness of Policies and Strategic Investments in the Fertilizer Supply Chain
Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) in collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) hosted a half-day workshop on ‘Improving the Effectiveness of Policies and Strategic Investments in the Fertilizer Supply Chain in Kenya’ on December 7, 2017.
The workshop brought together representatives of the hosting organizations as well as other stakeholders from the national and county governments and organizations dealing with fertilizer policies and products.
Representatives from KIPPRA, IFPRI and KARLO gave opening remarks and thanked the guests for honouring the invitation. In her speech, KIPPRA Executive Director Dr Rose Ngugi noted that a huge population in Kenya is employed in the agriculture sector, which also earns the country foreign exchange through exports. Dr Ngugi, however, noted that despite the government’s investment, the sector experiences challenges such as erratic weather patterns, high input costs mainly in form of imported fertilizers and credit constraints. She emphasized the need to assess the fertilizer supply chain and highlight gaps in policy and practice as well as recommend the way forward.
Speaking for IFPRI, Dr Teunis van Rheenen thanked KIPPRA and KALRO for the collaboration, noting that his organization was especially pleased to work with KIPPRA, the leading think tank in Sub-Saharan Africa. Festus Muriithi of KALRO shared the findings of fertilizer use and policies in Kenya. Mr Muriithi provided an in-depth description of market structures, practices, and outcomes along the supply and distribution channel in the country of the main fertilizers used (e.g. at the production/import level, wholesale level, and retail level).
Manuel Hernandez of IFPRI made a presentation on the fertilizer supply chain in Africa from the global to a regional and local perspective.
Apart from presentations, the workshop also entailed a plenary session where speakers addressed various issues in relation to the fertilizer supply chain in Kenya as well as comments and contributions from the participants.
Among the challenges identified along the fertilizer supply chain included adulteration of fertilizer in terms of quality and quantity standards; unhealthy competition from the government subsidized fertilizer ; seasonal availability of fertilizer of various types demanded by farmers at all times; high price volatility and supply; seasonality in demand for fertilizer especially during the harvesting season; transport cost due to distance to the port of entry; cartels in fertilizer distribution controlling the availability of fertilizer; corruption in tendering of fertilizer distribution by government; limited storage space due to bulkiness of fertilizer’ delay in import and distribution o fertilizer; limited access to finance and credit due to high interest rates; hoarding by unscrupulous traders to create artificial shortage; compatibility of supplied fertilizer with the soil conditions of the farmer; lack of small packaging for the small scale farmers; counterfeit fertilizer brands; insufficient research in the fertilizer sector to promote to identify appropriate fertilizer types to farmers; fertilizers sales on credit leading to bad debts and dominance of the market by established traders.
Staff from KIPPRA’s Productive Sector Division, led by Dr Augustus Muluvi, coordinated the workshop.