Security officers in Likuyani sub county have unearthed fertilizer syndicate and recovered over 466 bags of National Cereal and Produce Board (NCPB) branded Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) fertilizer.
The fertilizer was being repackaged ready to be sold to farmers at an exorbitant price.
Working on tip off from members of the public the officers raided two homesteads in Imbinga village, Seregeya location where they found the subsidy fertilizer being repackaged into Falcon branded bags.
According to the area deputy county commissioner (DCC) Peter Lotulia who led the security team in the raid, they had received complaints from members of the public that government subsidized fertilizer was being diverted to the market and some people were buying and repackaging it.
The DCC said one suspect Rael Owendi was arrested after a total of 394 bags were found in her compound while an additional 72 bags were found in her neighbour’s compound being repackaged in Falcon brand bags.
Also the officers nabbed close to 7,000 assorted packaging empty bags most of them belonging to Falcon Company.
The fertilize which retails at Ksh.1, 500 at the depots was being sold at between Ksh. 3000 and Ksh 3500 after being repackaged.
Lotulia said this was a syndicate aimed at sabotaging the government’s effort to promote the small scale farmer and food production in the country.
He said it was also disappointing that peasants and small scale farmers were being lock out at the depots and denied fertilizer on grounds that their names were not appearing in the system or some time told it had run out of stock adding.
“There has been an outcry from farmers who have been complaining that each time they go for this fertilizer they are either told their names are not found in the system or virtually the fertilizer is not there yet as we can see this is where it ends up. This is obvious that what is meant to help the smallest farmer is not helping them, a lot of it is bought by a cartel who repackage it and take it back to the market and sale it at an exorbitant price, so at the end of the day it beat the whole government program of promoting small farmers and improving food production,” said Lotulia.
The DCC instructed investigation officers to pursue the syndicate and ensure all those culpable face the full force of law.
“This is economic sabotage, it’s unacceptable and those culpable must face full force of law and we want to assure farmers that we will not tire until all these kind of syndicates are busted and destroyed so that the farmer can be able to benefit,”
“One bag of subsidized fertilizer goes for Ksh. 1, 500, when this fertilizer is converted to the black market it goes for between Ksh. 3,000 and Ksh. 3, 5000, so you can see how an individual makes a kill out of what is meant for the public this is unacceptable and is not going to be tolerated. We know and suspect there are others who are still in this business but it must end. There will be a thorough investigation and anybody regardless of their position found to have collaborated with the cartels will be dealt with decisively,” said