KTDA to give smallholder farmers fertiliser

Tea Development Agency management has announced it has imported 88,000 metric tonnes of NPK 26:5:5 fertiliser for
distribution to small scale tea farmers countrywide.

The first batch of 44,000 tonnes of
fertiliser arrived in Mombasa this week and received by a subsidiary of KTDA, the Chai Trading
Company Limited.

The company is facilitating importation
and distribution of the fertiliser to factories, jointly with KTDA field
services. The second batch is expected to arrive on August 5.

Group chief
executive officer KTDA Lerionka Tiampati said applying fertiliser to tea bushes increases
tea production and boosts quality of green leaf. “Application of fertiliser
at the onset of the short rains is necessary to ensure consistent high quality
and quantity of tea,” he said in a statement.

He said importing huge quantities of fertiliser enables KTDA to
leverage on internal economies of scale, meaning a small holder tea farmer is
able to buy a 50 kilo bag of the input at affordable pricing.

“As we conduct business, we focus on
reducing the average cost of producing a kilo of green leaf while increasing
its quality and productivity per bush through application of quality fertilizer.
Already, KTDA has contracted about 1,100 trucks to ferry the fertiliser from Mombasa
port to the factories upcountry thus creating employment opportunities for
hundreds of youth,” Tiampati said.

The quantity of fertiliser a farmer receives
depends on the number of tea bushes owned. On average, a 50 kilogramme bag of fertiliser
is applied to 700 bushes. The fertiliser requirement is usually determined in
November and December ahead of procurement the following year.

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