March 13, 2023

Yara MiCROP as a solution to enhance food security

Yara East Africa, is participating in the ongoing government fertilizer subsidy programme, focused on delivering the best performing multi-nutrient fertilizers in the market today, to catalyze crop productivity.


Yara East Africa, is participating in the ongoing government fertilizer subsidy programme, focused on delivering the best performing multi-nutrient fertilizers in the market today, to catalyze crop productivity.

The products placed under the subsidy programme by Yara include; MiCROP Planting and Topdressing, YaraMila POWER, YaraVera AMIDAS, and YaraBela SULFAN. Yara fertilizers are developed, with the twin objective of increasing yield and therefore, more income to the farmer and helping in boosting the national objective of attaining food security. Yara East Africa is in the subsidy programme, through an appointed distributor.

Yara operations are guided by the highest quality and ethical standards, our product stewardship framework ensures proper handling, storage, and transportation, from factory to the farmer. Yara expects all it’s business partners, suppliers, and distributors to abide by our code of conduct and ethical compliance policy.

Maize is the largest contributor to national food security for Kenya. For most small-scale farmers, maize is a key crop both for household food security and income. Despite this, maize production in the country is still far below optimal levels which in turn affects the food security of the nation.

Kenya produces about 40 million bags (90kg bags each) per year against a national requirement of approximately 52 million bags hence a deficit of over 10 million bags. Production is dominated by an estimated 3 million smallholder farmers who produce roughly 70 percent of total maize output in Kenya and are mainly dependent on rainfall.

Kenya’s key to achieving food security is through a balanced crop nutrition
MAIZE: Manager Felix Kiili at Komool Farms displays maize crops with full cobs, and uniform seeds from use of Yara East Africa's comprehensive maize fertilizer regime.

Low yields have been attributed to declining soil fertility, unreliable weather, and poor use of quality inputs. Yara East Africa Limited is the leading crop nutrition solutions provider in the region and in the last four years it has undertaken several initiatives to ensure that small-scale farmers have access to quality balanced nutrition solution that is affordable. To offer a solution to the small-scale farmers, Yara East Africa undertook a study of the soil fertility status in the maize growing areas by analyzing more than 2,000 soil samples.

The study reveals widespread acidic soils (PH <5.8), deficiency of sulfur and Zinc across the maize growing regions thus explaining the reason for perennial low maize productivity.  From the report, key nutrient deficiencies and poor soil management practices were identified to be limiting the production of maize. The MiCROP range of fertilizers, was designed with the above in consideration to provide an affordable solution to growers, enabling them to harvest more from the same unit of land. This in essence lowers the cost of food production.

MiCROP Planting and MiCROP Topdressing solutions deliver over 5 nutrients, aimed at replacing the traditional use of DAP and CAN which only offer 2 nutrients. As a result, use of MiCROP range of fertilizers has seen farmers yield improve to over 20 bags per acre contributing to improved household food security and incomes, through a more balanced nutrition solution, addressing key deficiencies in the maize growing regions.

MiCROP Factsheet

The decision of the type and amount of fertilizer to be applied on a crop must be based on; the soil status of the farm (determined by soil analysis), and the targeted yields, since the crop feeds on nutrients. Therefore, to achieve the desired higher yields, you have to meet the crop nutrient requirements in a balanced approach. As per the Liebig’s Law of the Minimum, addressing the limiting nutrients is key to attaining optimal crop production. The acidic soils also inhibit the availability of key nutrient elements e.g Phosphorous, Sulphur, hence the need to ensure use of less acidifying fertilizers (MiCROP), provision of balanced nutrition, timely application to match the nutrient demand cycle of the crop and investment in liming.

Previously, maize fertilization in Kenya mainly focused on Nitrogen and Phosphorus application. However, research in maize production shows that failure to supply other key nutrients results in poor yields and gradual decline in soil fertility due to nutrient mining. Nutrient mining is a case of taking out more nutrients from the soil than what is supplied through fertilization. 

MiCROP is now available under the government subsidy, and with the excellent results witnessed by farmers who adopted it since 2021, the farmers should expect significant yield increases this year.  This will provide resilience of incomes; by lowering the unit cost of food production, translating to lower household food budgets. The increased productivity not only enables households to feed themselves, but also generate a surplus that contributes to national food security.

The country still imports up to 10 million bags of maize annually to bridge the deficit, and this puts a lot of pressure on our foreign exchange especially at the present where the Kenya shilling has depreciated, the Russia-Ukraine conflict has disrupted supply chain systems, and flow of essential commodities and overall global shortage of cereals. It is a high time to ensure that the maize harvest this season is adequate to provide the nation with food sufficiency and incomes for better livelihoods. The farmers can contribute to the national food security by making the right choice of fertilizer.