Leader of the Azimio la Umoja coalition, Raila Odinga, has voiced his criticism of President William Ruto’s subsidized fertilizer initiative aimed at boosting food production in Kenya. Speaking at a roadside rally in Magena, Kisii County on Sunday, Raila accused Ruto of deceiving the Kenyan people by claiming to subsidize fertilizer when it was actually donated by the Russian government.
Raila asserted that Ruto is misleading Kenyans by suggesting he has lowered fertilizer costs to aid farmers when, in fact, the fertilizer was provided free of charge by the Russian government but is now being sold at Ksh2,500. Raila questioned where this money is going.
Furthermore, Raila alleged that the subsidized fertilizer has been adulterated with sand to increase its volume, allowing unscrupulous government officials to profit at the expense of unsuspecting Kenyans.
He emphasized that agricultural responsibilities have been devolved to county governments and should be left under their jurisdiction. Raila called for the national government to refrain from taking away these responsibilities and instead allocate funds to the counties to ensure smooth operations.
Raila also criticized the national government for requesting support from county governments, claiming that this impedes governors from fulfilling their constitutionally mandated duties. Accompanied by Kisii County Governor Simba Arati, Raila asserted that Kisii is a stronghold for his party, ODM, and implied that other counties whose governors were elected on ODM tickets share this sentiment.
He recommended that the national government should respect the choices made by the electorate and follow a governance approach similar to the American system when executing its responsibilities.
On August 2, 2023, President Ruto announced a reduction in fertilizer prices from Ksh.3,500 to Ksh.2,500 per 50-kilogram bag. Ruto highlighted the potential for increased fertilizer uptake at this reduced price and its positive impact on agricultural productivity, encouraging farmers to utilize the fertilizer for higher yields in upcoming planting seasons.