NewsCS Linturi Disputes Claims of Fake Fertilizer

CS Linturi Disputes Claims of Fake Fertilizer

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The controversy surrounding the distribution of fake fertilizer has taken a dramatic turn, as Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi dismissed the allegations as propaganda. 

Despite increasing concerns raised by farmers nationwide, Linturi urged the farming community not to succumb to what he termed as misinformation.

“I am very impressed by the farmers for their initiatives and for making sure they are not misled by those fraudsters, who don’t want the best for Kenya,” stated the CS, defending the integrity of fertilizer distribution.

Linturi’s statements come amid mounting pressure on government officials to address the issue. James Kamau, Chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, has summoned Agriculture and Trade Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano to provide clarity on the matter.

An image of an NCPB employee handling fertiliser in a warehouse in 2021.

An image of an NCPB employee handling fertiliser in a warehouse in 2021.
File

“We want to know how fake fertilizers got to the government silos, and who is responsible,” Kamau asserted during a meeting in Kirinyaga, emphasising the urgency of the situation.

Additionally, Kamau urged farmers not to dispose of the allegedly fake fertilizers they purchased and requested them to retain any evidence, such as text messages confirming their purchases.

Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) Chief Executive Officer, Esther Njeri Ngari this week confirmed to legislators the presence of fake fertilizer in NCPB warehouses. 

She stated that KEBS had seized 5,840 bags in a surveillance raid. Following the intelligence, NCPB sampled the product in over 59 of its warehouses across the country which led to the suspension of the product licenses amid fears that the product may still be in circulation. 

This week, officials from the KEBS and the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) have come under scrutiny, with Members of Parliament calling for a special audit to investigate the alleged distribution of substandard fertilizer across the country.

According to KEBS, a regional fertilizer merchant based in Kenya stands accused of supplying substandard fertilizer to the NCPB, prompting concerns about the integrity of the supply chain.

The National Assembly Public Investment Committee on Commercial Affairs and Energy has directed the Office of the Auditor General to conduct an audit within one month, aiming to identify individuals involved in the scandal and recommend prosecution.

“We need to know the batching mechanism for KEBS to ascertain whether these people are passive. They only give okays to manufacturers and leave it there. Is that the case, if so then we are doomed as Kenyans,” remarked Pokot South MP David Pkosing, highlighting the need for accountability.

Gitari assured MPs that investigations were underway and that the agency had provided all relevant documents to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution for further action.

However, MPs expressed frustration over the lack of arrests in connection with the scandal, demanding swift accountability measures.

Despite these assurances, concerns linger regarding the safety and efficacy of fertilizers in circulation, especially during the crucial planting season, farmers in Trans Nzoia came out in numbers in search of subsidized fertilizer.

KEBS acting Managing Director Esther Ngari speaking during an event on March 21, 2023 in Nairobi County.

KEBS acting Managing Director Esther Ngari speaking during an event on March 21, 2023, in Nairobi County.
Photo
KEBS

Source: kENYANS.CO.KE

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