Mr Kiunjuri said his ministry’s efforts to procure 166,750 metric tonnes of the commodity began in August 2018.
The exploitative prices of the middlemen are also likely to affect the production this year compared with 46 million bags of maize harvested in the 2018.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri now says his National Treasury counterpart Henry Rotich is to blame for failing to provide money to import subsidised fertiliser ahead of the planting season next month, when the long rains are expected.
The latest move leaves farmers at the mercy of local dealers, who are selling a 50kg bag of fertiliser at Sh3,500 compared with the Sh1,800 they would have paid for the government-subsidised fertiliser.
Appearing before the National Assembly’s Agriculture Committee Monday, Mr Kiunjuri said his ministry’s efforts to procure 166,750 metric tonnes of the commodity began in August 2018.
In a process that included writing letters to Mr Rotich, Mr Kiunjuri told the MPs that he was instead told by the Treasury to operate within the approved budget of Sh4.3 billion.
However, the fact the ministry had pending bills to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) and Export Trading Company (ETG) Limited and AGPO companies amounting to Sh8 billion made the Treasury’s proposal unworkable.
Of the Sh4.3 billion, Sh2.15 billion would be paid to these agencies and firms, with the remaining Sh2.15 billion used to procure fertilisers from AGPO firms, which is not enough.