The cereals board has imported additional fertiliser ahead of the onset of the long rains and planting season in March. At the same time it has stepped up efforts to distribute its current stock to farmers throughout the country. More than 100,000 tonnes of fertiliser is expected to dock in Mombasa later this month, according to National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) public relations manager Evans Wasike . The consignment is in addition to 40,000 tonnes of fertiliser being distributed by the board through its depots across the country. "We want to boost our stock and avoid last minute rush by farmers," Mr Wasike said on Monday. He said the board had 183,000 bags of Diammonium Phosphate (DAP), 152,000 bags of Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN) and 16,000 bags of Single Super Phosphate (SSP) in its stores. The high cost of fertiliser forced most farmers to plant maize without the input last season, leading to a decline in production. A bag of DAP is retailing at Sh2,450 while CAN is selling at Sh1,750 in NCPB depots. Maize production in Rift Valley dropped from 21 million bags to16 million last season after several hectares of the crop was attacked by Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN) that has ravaged some parts of the region, according to the Ministry of Agriculture . The South Rift region has been hit hard by the MLN forcing some farmers to uproot the crop, threatening the country's food security. The cost of essential commodities in North Rift have gone down due to the availability of other alternative sources of food. According to Ms Mary Jeptoo , a trader at Eldoret retail market maize, the price of a bag of maize has declined from Sh3,300 to Sh2,800 in Eldoret, a situation she attributed to adequate supply of crops such as potatoes, beans and cassava.
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