Farmers to benefit from soil health campaign

Thursday, August 24th, 2023 01:45 | By
Kisumu Chief Officer in charge of Agriculture Erick Omondi flags off the soil health campaign caravan, yesterday. KNA
Kisumu Chief Officer in charge of Agriculture Erick Omondi flags off the soil health campaign caravan, yesterday. PHOTO/KNA

More than 7, 000 farmers in Kisumu county are set to benefit from a free rapid soil testing campaign to boost food production.

The exercise spearheaded by the Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems (KCDMS), targets to equip farmers with the right information about soil nutrition to enable them make informed decisions regarding fertilisation and crop selection.

This comes after results of soil samples taken from different parts of the county revealed that it was acidic resulting to poor yields.

KCDMS technical director Seth Yake said the campaign targets to sensitize farmers on the importance of soil testing.

He said that even though the uptake of fertilizer in the area was commendable, farmers lack information on the right type of fertilizers for their soils.

“We have seen from the tests that have been done in this region that the soils are very acidic. This means farmers must make very deliberate steps to amend this by improving the pH to the required level to increase productivity,” he said.

Speaking during the launch of the campaign in Kisumu, Yake said the exercise which runs up to mid next month, would help farmers to understand the limitations of their soil and make efforts to bridge the gaps.

Addressing scepticism

He revealed that KCDMS, which is under a USAID-funded Feed the Future Initiative, was working closely with the County Government and agro dealers to ensure as many farmers as possible access soil testing services to boost food production.

He challenged the private sector to take up soil testing to reach more farmers and create job opportunities for the youth.

Besides Kisumu, he said, the testing was also being carried out in Kisii, Kakamega, Busia, Bungoma, Vihiga and Siaya counties. The culmination of the campaign, he said, will involve setting up soil testing clinics in all the seven counties.  Manned by qualified technicians and agronomists, the clinics, he said, will provide farmers with immediate, personalised soil reports and recommendations.

Kisumu County Chief Officer in charge of agriculture Erick Omondi said the team would  traverse all the 35 wards in the devolved unit sensitizing and training farmers on soil testing and management.

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