At least 800 farmers from different parts of Bumula Sub County on Wednesday got an interactive opportunity to test their soil samples and train on the importance of soil testing for maximum yields of their crops.
The exercise took place at Bumula football stadium during Governor Ken Lusaka’s launch of free farm inputs that will benefit 21,900 vulnerable farmers across the county. The mobile soil testing van is fully fitted to offer services to farmers across the region.
The farmers learnt about the science and fertility of the soil from a team of agricultural officers who were led by Mr Cyprian Wafula, a soil technician.
During the exercise, Mr. Wafula broke down soil components and further explained how chemical properties affects soil fertility.
“For good yields and for the soil to take care of your crops, there must be a good balance between the acidity and alkalinity levels which we refer to as the soil Potential Hydrogen commonly known as the PH,” he said.
“It’s very important for a farmer to do soil testing as it will also guide the farmer to know the type of fertilizer to use during planting and top dressing,” Wafula said.
He noted that earlier a research was conducted in Bungoma County and the soil in the region found to be too acidic which is unfavorable for good crop production, especially maize.
“This fertilizer and the seeds being launched by Bungoma County Government, is best fit for the type of soil in this region. At soil Lab, we offer soil testing services at a subsidized rate affordable to farmers and I advise our farmers to take a step further and do soil test for better yields on their farms,” said Mr. Wafula.
Farmers whose soils had been tested were assisted to analyze their soil results and all their questions answered.
“Soil Labs charge a minimum of Sh. 1500-5000, a cost that most of our farmers can’t afford but for us, we do soil test at a subsidized cost of Sh800 to enable farmers make right decisions on their farms.
As much as the cost is subsidized, we still have a challenge in reaching out to more farmers and we call upon other private organizations to join hands so that more farmers can be empowered and able to access this kind of services.”
Mr. Wafula added that the remedy for acidic soil is ensuring farmers practice sustainable agriculture that entails soil furrowing, lime application, crop rotation, planting of short season crops, use of compost manure and applying the recommended fertilizer for the specific region.
By Cate Kulo and Roseland Lumwamu