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Government Shuts Down KEL Factory in Thika Amidst Fake Fertiliser Probe

Government Shuts Down KEL Factory in Thika Amidst Fake Fertiliser Probe


Sunday, April 14, 2024

KNA by Hellen Lunalo

The government has closed down KEL Chemicals Factory in Thika town following adverse reports of the company’s involvement in the production of fake fertiliser.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, Mithika Linturi, announced Saturday that the company’s license had been revoked pending further investigations into the distribution of counterfeit fertiliser to farmers.

Government officials declared the factory premises a crime scene, with CS Linturi assuring the public that public funds would not be compromised due to the scam.

“The government has revoked the manufacturing license for KEL Chemicals while investigations are still ongoing.”

Additionally, KEL will not receive payment for the bags of fertiliser they have already provided in the country until the investigation is completed.

The blending plant where the fertiliser was produced has been closed and will be considered a crime scene until the investigation is finalised,” stated Mr Linturi.

Furthermore, CS Linturi stated that funds owed to KEL for the bags they had provided would not be released until the investigation was completed. On their part, KEL company officials have acknowledged a production mistake, indicating that 3,000 bags of the fake fertiliser were manufactured from March 5 to March 10, 2023.

Mr Chandrabhan Chimurkahh, the General Manager of KEL Chemicals, stated that their internal investigations revealed a disruption in the production process from March 5 to March 10, 2024.

He clarified that the issue impacted 3,000 bags, and efforts were underway to trace and recall them, with the Kenya Revenue Authority having already located 516 bags, which were being tested by the relevant government authorities.

“I believe that there was a minor issue in which the ingredients being mixed may have become contaminated during the production process. It is possible that some workers accidentally stepped on them or that other ingredients fell and were then collected and put into the bags,” said Mr Chimurkahh.

He stated that they were fully collaborating with the government in tracing the contaminated bags and that they would continue to cooperate throughout the process.

The closure of the powder section at KEL Chemicals has led to the suspension of operations that involved mixing fertiliser, causing 150 out of the 275 employees at the company to lose their jobs.

The license has been revoked one week after the issuance of a directive by the Ministry of Agriculture for the mandatory testing of all fertilisers being distributed to farmers nationwide.

Kelphos plus, Kelphos Gold, and NPK fertilisers produced by KEL Chemicals were found below the required fertiliser standards by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) during testing.

CS Linturi emphasised the government’s dedication in providing farmers with quality agricultural inputs and stated that they were actively working to avoid any issues with fertiliser that could affect crop production in the future.

He reiterated the government’s commitment in ensuring that food security continued to be a top priority.

Courtesy; KNA

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