The fuel crisis in Kenya has taken a toll on small scale rice and tomato farmers especially during these short rains season since it rains irregularly. According to Mildred Achieng who is one of the farmers forced to depend on irrigation, fuel is important for pumping water to facilitate irrigation and its increase has really taken a toll on them.
Furthermore, it has affected their ability to supply tomatoes to the various markets due to the increased transport costs and reduced number of vehicles in operation in relation to the earlier seasons.
This is due to the fact that they are forced to spend up to twice the amount to ensure their crops remain healthy, fresh and strong. The current fuel crisis in Kenya which has been attributed to delays in the payment of subsidies to the companies by the government has pushed up prices in the wholesale market where oil majors resell fuel to the smaller independent fuel retailers.
This has seen the small retailers hesitate to buy the costly fuel, with increased supply of oil majors unable to plug the deficit. The marketers are said to have increased the share of fuel they sell to the neighboring countries of Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo to over 60 percent from the previous 40 percent of total imports to ease their cash crunch.
The fuel crisis is just one of the challenges facing farmers including but not limited to pesticides that have to be sprayed once every three weeks to avoid damages /losses.
Let us hope that the 14th April 2022 press statement concerning the pricing of fuel will bring things back to normal and we shall have available fuel all the time.
By Edgar Akula and Nicholas Odhiambo