Chuka University has kicked off a project to promote Agri-business within Tharaka Nithi County by launching the use of its sophisticated soil scanner in Magumoni ward.
Speaking during the launch, the University Vice chancellor Prof. Erastus Njoka said residents in the county are privileged to be close to one of the institutions of higher learning that has been appointed by the government to educate farmers on agri-business as a means of achieving the Big 4 Agenda.
Prof. Njoka said the project was aimed at educating farmers to reduce on the cost of production by giving free soil scanning services, with a view to transforming the nation into a highly productive country in agricultural output like Israel in future.
“It is very unfortunate that most of the vegetables consumed by the University and even county residents are imported from the neighbouring regions, while we have sufficient land and water. If all of us can take advantage of this initial free soil scanning we should resolve this paradox,” said the VC.
Prof. Njoka noted that the five scanning machines each bought at Sh399,000 will also help people from the neighbouring counties who can take samples of their farm soil to the university to be tested and thereafter given instructions on what they should plant in their farms.
He added that the University has also collaborated with Israel which has given them Sh23 million to develop the university demonstration farm at Kairini, where farmers will be attending training to learn about the crops that will be grown, with the help of Jewish agricultural officers.
“We believe that having Agricultural officers from Israel preparing a farm and educating our people will help everyone achieve bountiful yields no matter their status,” said Prof. Njoka.
The soil scanner is supposed to diagnose the soil to determine whether it needs either organic or chemical fertilizer for best crop yields.
Meanwhile, the university is also planning to partner with other nations to build a hospital that will offer superior services like those found in India so as to save Kenyans from the agony of travelling abroad to seek specialized treatment.
By Kenneth Marangu