Concerned about high fertilizer prices? go to organic farming

Fertilizer at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) warehouse in Nakuru. April 4, 2022. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

One of the unintended consequences of the Ukraine-Russia war, also known as Russia’s special military operation, is the rise in fuel and fertilizer prices.

This has governments scratching their heads.

They have led to subsidies to curb political anger arising from fuel-induced inflation.

We can discuss the sustainability of subsidies later. Some observers have whispered that this is why “no one” wants to see a weak shilling, it would fuel inflation further.

Let’s leave fuel prices and dollar shortages aside for now. But be quick to add that any control of the price, be it for fuel or the exchange rate, creates a shortage.

That’s Economy 101. The price of fertilizer shouldn’t keep us up at night. It is a unique opportunity to turn to organic farming. Organic food is more expensive in most supermarkets around the world.

They are grown under natural conditions with minimal chemicals like fertilizers or genetic modification. The main organic foods are fruits and vegetables. Such foods are healthier. They are expensive because your health is your wealth.

They made up only about four percent of the US grocery market in 2014. This shows the growth potential of this market. In Kenya the market is probably higher because we grow our food traditionally. Do you remember Kienyeji chicken?

Modernity brought us to non-organic foods grown with chemicals and genetic modifications. The GMO (genetically modified organisms) debate shows that we are still organic. But the use of chemicals dilutes that organicity.

In Kenya we are becoming more health conscious and the demand for such foods is growing. I’ve noticed organic food advertisements in several places around town.

Known presence of ngwaci, nduma and boiled corn in five star hotels? Organic food isn’t just about our health, it’s about the planet itself; climate change and biodiversity.

Our farmers should not lose sleep over high fertilizer prices. It’s an opportunity to switch to a more lucrative market.

It’s interesting that as the developed world transitions to organic food, we’re moving away from them. But the future is organic. High fertilizer prices could bring that future forward.

For most farmers, it simply means improving traditional farming with fertilizer, crop rotation, and growing crops that best suit your weather and soil.

And to feed the animals naturally without artificial feeds and hormones.


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