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Babu Owino calls for CS Linturi’s resignation over fake government fertiliser

Pressure continues to mount on Kenya’s Kwanza government as opposition leaders call for a thorough audit of alleged fake subsidised fertiliser claims.

The latest voice to join the call is that of Embakasi East MP Babu Owino, who is calling on Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi to resign over the matter.

A member of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party, Babu Owino says farmers cannot continue to be exploited by a government that is supposed to protect them.

“We demand the resignation of the CS of the Ministry of Agriculture,” declared MP Babu Owino on Wednesday, 27 March 2024.

The outspoken legislator, known for his close ties to ODM party leader Raila Odinga, made the demand during the burial of celebrated journalist Rita Tinina in Narok County.

Earlier in the day, Narok County Senator Ledama Olekina and his Kitui counterpart Enock Wambua also expressed concern over the alleged fake government-subsidised fertiliser.

The issue, already under public scrutiny, has sparked a heated debate after the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) revealed that it had intercepted thousands of bags of substandard fertiliser from various National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depots across the country.

Appearing before the portfolio committee on agriculture and livestock chaired by Tigania West MP John Mutunga last week, KEBS managing director Esther Ngari confirmed that the substandard fertiliser was still in circulation throughout the country.

Known as GPC plus Organics Fertiliser and distributed by a company called SBL-innovate Manufacturers Limited, it has raised serious concerns about its efficacy and safety.

The head of the state regulator told lawmakers that tests on 59 samples collected from various NCPB depots showed the fertiliser in question to be substandard and significantly different from the organic fertiliser the company was originally certified to distribute.

Opposition MPs are demanding that the government be held accountable for its alleged misdeeds.
“Supplying farmers with a concoction of stones and donkey dung in the name of fertiliser is unacceptable,” condemned Babu Owino.

While not directly defending the controversy, CS Linturi recently claimed that the government was providing certified and standard fertiliser through its subsidy programme, asserting that “there is no fake subsidised fertiliser being sold in the market”.