By Titus Mbithi
Japan’s Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC) says its fertiliser plant in Eldoret will start production in August.
Opening of the factory is expected to reduce prices of the key farm input.
A consortium of a Kenyan and two foreign companies have also announced plans to build two fertiliser plants in the country by year-end, reflecting increased interest in the commodity’s local production.
“Our plant which is scheduled to roll out first bag of fertiliser this August, will produce fertiliser that is soil and plant-specific to enhance farmer productivity in the country,” Mr Dennis Awori, an executive advisor of Toyota said.
Mr Awori said the multinational has invested $20 million (Sh2 billion) in the first phase of the Eldoret factory, which has the capacity to produce 150,000 tonnes of fertiliser per year.
The government estimates that local manufacture of the commodity can reduce its price by up to 40 per cent, mainly by elimination of freight and handling charges associated with imports.
Kenya has relied on fertiliser imports for decades, with the upcoming plants promising to produce the commodity specifically suited to local soils.
TTC’s factory will target sales to hundreds of thousands of small-scale farmers in Kenya and the region.
The multinational estimates that fertiliser from the plant will increase crop yields by up to 35 per cent, based on feasibility studies.
Kenya’s agricultural production is expected to grow in the coming years, fuelling demand for fertiliser, farm machinery and other inputs.
This has attracted more firms willing to manufacture fertiliser in the country seeking a price advantage over imports.
Two Phillipine-based companies have entered an agreement with Kenyan start-up Wanda Organic to establish bio-organic fertiliser manufacturing plants in Nakuru and Laikipia counties by end of this year.
By Titus Mbithi