The government has made the decision to close down the KEL Chemicals Factory in Thika town due to concerns over the company’s involvement in the production of counterfeit fertiliser.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, Mithika Linturi, made the announcement on Saturday, stating that the company’s license has been revoked while further investigations are conducted into the distribution of fake fertiliser to farmers.

Government officials have designated the factory premises as a crime scene, with CS Linturi reassuring the public that no public funds will be compromised due to this scandal.

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

Additionally, the government has halted payment to KEL for the bags of fertiliser already provided in the country until the investigation is concluded. The blending plant responsible for producing the fertiliser has also been shut down and will remain a crime scene until the investigation is finalized.

Furthermore, CS Linturi stated that funds owed to KEL for the bags they had supplied would not be released until the investigation was completed.

KEL company officials have acknowledged an error in production, admitting that 3,000 bags of fake fertiliser were manufactured from March 5 to March 10, 2023.

The General Manager of KEL Chemicals, Mr. Chandrabhan Chimurkahh, explained that internal investigations revealed a disruption in the production process during this period.

He clarified that the issue affected 3,000 bags and efforts were underway to trace and recall them. The Kenya Revenue Authority has already located 516 bags, which are currently being tested by relevant government authorities.

Mr. Chimurkahh suggested, “There may have been a minor issue during the production process where the ingredients being mixed may have become contaminated. It is possible that some workers accidentally contaminated them or that other ingredients fell and were then collected and put into the bags.”

He assured that the company is fully cooperating with the government in tracing the contaminated bags and will continue to do so throughout the process.

The closure of the powder section at KEL Chemicals has resulted in the suspension of operations involving fertiliser mixing, leading to 150 out of 275 employees losing their jobs.

This action comes one week after the Ministry of Agriculture issued a directive for mandatory testing of all fertilisers distributed to farmers nationwide.

Fertilisers produced by KEL Chemicals, including Kelphos Plus, Kelphos Gold, and NPK fertilisers, were found to be below the required standards by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) during testing.

CS Linturi reaffirmed the government’s commitment to providing farmers with quality agricultural inputs, stressing their efforts to prevent any issues with fertiliser that could impact crop production in the future. He reiterated that ensuring food security remains a top priority for the government.