Urgent Action Needed: Government Launches Probe into Fake Fertilizer Scandal

Fake Fertilizer Scandal
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The country’s authorities have initiated a thorough inquiry into the scandal involving counterfeit fertilizers, which has caused significant upheaval. The government has issued a stern warning, emphasizing that individuals found responsible for this fraudulent act will be subjected to the full force of legal consequences.

Through the Ministry of Agriculture, the State was however quick to note the subsidized fertilizer programme that had benefited hundreds of farmers had not been affected by the scandal.

In the last couple of weeks, reports have emerged that farmers were supplied with fake fertilizer by unscrupulous traders leading to a drop in crop production.

This week Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) accused a Kenyan-based regional fertilizer merchant of fraud after it emerged the firm supplied substandard fertilizer to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).

Documents tabled before the National Assembly Agriculture Committee by KEBS showed how SBL-Innovate Manufacturer Limited supplied substandard fertilizer dubbed ‘BL-GPC’ for over a year undetected.

KEBS said the firm applied for certification on January 13 and secured approval on January 28, 2023.

KEBS Managing Director Esther Ngari told MPs that initially, the company had complied with all requirements which prompted the agency to issue them permits to supply organic fertilizer but later committed fraud by violating the standards.

The standards agency certified SBL-Innovate Manufacturer to supply organic fertilizer but the firm supplied diatomite, which relies on a biologically generated form of Silica to enhance soil conditions, to NCPB stores.

“During our surveillance, we sampled the product that was being sold in agrovets and finally got intelligence that the product was being supplied through NCPB stores. Test reports showed the product failed on organic matter,” Ngari said.

For months, farmers unknowingly purchased the product bearing KEBS certification.

KEBS said it launched a probe following a tip-off from the public, seizing 5,840 bags in a surveillance raid.

Following the intelligence, NCPB sampled the product in over 59 ware stores across the country which led to the suspension of the product permits amid fears that the product may still be in circulation.

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