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USAID launch Soil Health Campaign in Kisii County

In an effort to revolutionize agricultural practices and boost food security, a Soil Health Campaign was unveiled at the Kisii Agricultural Training Centre (KATC).

Spearheaded by the collaborative efforts of Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems (KCDMS), an organization funded by USAID and the Kisii County Government, the campaign seeks to empower small-scale farmers through enhanced knowledge and informed decision-making regarding soil management.

During the campaign launch, Kisii County Governor Paul Simba Arati underscored the pivotal role of the caravan, which is slated to traverse all 45 wards within the county. This comprehensive approach seeks to sensitize farmers about the importance of soil testing and management. The governor spelt out that the initiative aligns seamlessly with the government’s overarching agenda to alleviate the cost of living, particularly the expense associated with food.

“The key to unlocking a more sustainable and economically viable future for our farmers lies in informed decision-making,” the governor emphasized. He added that at least 200 farmers from each ward would be encouraged to participate in soil testing, a practice designed to facilitate intelligent farming choices, including prudent fertilizer application.

Governor further reassured farmers that the soil testing process would be streamlined and hassle-free, as no documentation or proof of land ownership would be required for farmers to test their farm soil. The testing, he emphasized, would be expedited and would not consume more than 20 minutes of farmers’ time.

He highlighted the alarming trend of acidic soil in Kisii County, with an average pH of about 5.0, and indicated that the provision of subsidized fertilizers by the government could be even more advantageous for farmers armed with precise soil health information.

Further comprehensive training sessions will be delivered by the county’s dedicated extension officers alongside experts from The Future Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems (KCDMS). The partnership with KCDMS extends beyond training as it seeks to bridge farmers with financial providers, offering an avenue for sustainable growth and development within the agricultural sector.

Expanding its impact beyond Kisii, KCDMS envisions a sweeping Soil Health Campaign across the Western Kenya counties of Kisumu, Kakamega, Busia, Bungoma, Vihiga, Siaya, and Kisii. This concerted effort aligns with KCDMS core mission to foster informed and science-based agricultural practices, ultimately leading to amplified crop yields, fortified food security, and elevated livelihoods for farmers in the region.

This landmark initiative resonates with the ethos of collaboration between the government, development organizations, and the agricultural community. The Soil Health Campaign not only exemplifies a concerted effort to elevate farming practices but also reflects a shared commitment to cultivating a more sustainable and prosperous future for Kenya’s farming fraternity.

The launch event witnessed the presence of other esteemed officials, including Deputy Governor Dr. Robert Monda and KCDMS Technical Director Seth Oyako. Their participation reaffirmed the collaborative spirit and shared commitment to fostering sustainable agricultural growth in Kenya’s heartland.

By Misheba Alfred

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