Details have emerged on how traders and National Cereals and Produce Board officials made billions of shillings selling adulterated fertiliser to farmers.

Crops Development Principal Secretary Richard Lesiyampe told the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee that the traders sold the fake fertiliser at Sh3,500 per 50kg bag.

“We had challenges distributing the fertiliser. Traders have been repackaging it with glass and rock,” Dr Lesiyampe said, adding that arrests had been made in the past.

The fertiliser was to be sold to  farmers at Sh1,500 per bag.

The revelations come as the country grapples with news of the loss of more than Sh2.5 billion in 2014 in a fertiliser import scandal.

Auditor-General Edward Ouko, in his 2014/15 and 2015/16 reports, raises doubts over whether the Agriculture ministry imported 260,905 tonnes of fertiliser.

REPACKAGING

During his appearance at the committee chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, the PS failed to inform the lawmakers how much was delivered and distributed.

Dr Lesiyampe said traders colluded with managers at NCPB stores to repackage the fertiliser with foreign materials and later sold it to farmers in the North Rift, Nakuru, Kericho and Bomet and other parts of the country.

The NCPB is also at the centre of a Sh2 billion scandal in which eight traders reportedly pocketed the cash for making huge deliveries to its depots in Eldoret, Kisumu, Nakuru, Bungoma and Uasin Gishu counties.

Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri recently told the MPs that an audit into the delivery of six million bags to the board at Sh12 billion had been launched.

THEFT

Dr Lesiyampe said traders had been coming up with new ways of stealing from the government every year.

Mr Wandayi blamed the ministry for failing to cushion farmers against exploitation by influential people in the government and their cronies.

He said the ministry should supervise the NCPB, “which has been left at the mercy of cartels”.

The MP added: “There is definitely the influence of power peddlers in government in this matter.”