KEL Chemicals Limited, a Kenyan fertilizer producer, has found itself embroiled in a controversy concerning the quality of its products.

The Ministry of Agriculture, acting on test results from the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), recently directed farmers to stop using three of KEL's fertilizer brands - Kelphos Plus, Kelphos Gold, and NPK 10:26:10 - due to failing quality checks.

KEL has vehemently contested these claims.

In a letter to the Departmental Committee on Agriculture and Livestock, the company asserted the accuracy of their products, citing positive test results received from the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) in early April.

They further highlighted that their application for analysis with KEBS remains unanswered.

"On 3rd April 2024 the company received positive results as to the samples of the fertilizer following an independent application for analysis to KEPHIS Analytical Laboratory on 21st March 2024 as those sent to KEBS have gone unanswered till today," the company stated.

Despite the dispute, KEL has pledged to compensate any farmer who comes forward with a complaint of receiving substandard fertilizer.

The company outlined a process for complaints, requiring details such as batch numbers, delivery information, and the delivery date.

The Ministry of Agriculture, however, has taken a more confrontational approach.

They have not only directed farmers away from the implicated brands but have also initiated legal action against KEL Chemicals for violating standards.

KEL views this legal action as unfair, particularly considering the unanswered application with KEBS.

They argue that the government's focus should be on identifying the source of the substandard fertilizer, not on harassing company officials.

"We have noticed that instead of training efforts to establish the origin of the alleged substandard fertilizer, the company officials have been subjected to harassment and intimidation by a collective effort of certain members of the executive," the company asserted.

This situation highlights the complexities of agricultural product regulation in Kenya.

While the government prioritizes protecting farmers from low-quality products, KEL's claims raise questions about the consistency and transparency of testing procedures.

With both sides holding firm, Kenyan farmers are left caught in the middle, unsure of which fertilizer brands to trust for their crops.