Homa Bay farmers upbeat as soil testing initiative starts

Homa Bay Governor Gladys Wanga flagging off a mobile soil laboratory van at the county headquarters to mark the launch of soil testing on August 23, 2023. [James Omoro, Standard] 

Farmers in Homa Bay County have a reason to smile after an organization began partnering with the county government in soil testing to boost the yield of their produce.

 A USAID funded organisation, Feed The Future Kenya Crops and Dairy Market System (KCDMS) in partnership with Homa Bay County government has begun the initiative of testing soil to enhance crop production in the county.

 The tests are done at sub-county headquarters where farmers take samples of their soil from their farms to be tested free of charge. This will continue until mid-next month.

 The initiative is aimed at testing the soil to measure the amount of PH which helps in determining the level of acidity in the soil.

 Significance of the test is to enable farmers to reclaim the soil through application of lime or fertilizers.

 The tests also help in determining the type of fertilizer that should be used in a given soil during crop production.

 The tests are done in eight sub-counties in Homa Bay free of charge.

 Governor Gladys Wanga in the company of her deputy Oyugi Magwanga said the initiative will improve crop production in the county while boosting food security.

 "The initiative is significant because it will enable our farmers to apply the right fertilizer in their farms. It will also enable them to know where to propagate given crops. This will boost food security in our county,” Wanga said.

 Magwanga said soil testing will enhance chances of preventing crop diseases. This will be enhanced through application of the right fertilizers which are suitable for a given crop.

 “This initiative will enable our farmers to produce crops which are healthy,” Magwanga said.

Magwanga’s sentiments were echoed by Judy Odongo, KCDMS deputy chief who said they decided to undertake the exercise after realising that most soils in the area have a pH level of less than 5, an indication of acidity.

 "It means that soil types in this region have high levels of acid. The suitable soil pH is between 5.5 and 7.5. We are undertaking this initiative to enhance reclamation of the soil,” Odongo said.

 She said her organisation had identified agro dealers in every county who will carry out the tests.

 "It is part of feeding the future initiative aimed at promoting soil health intervention," Ms Odongo said.

 She said they target to undertake 8,000 rapid tests. 

 “Our main objective is to fight the shortage of food,” Odongo added.

Premium We are in the dark, Police Sacco founders question sale of prime properties
New tariff lifts Kenya Power to Sh319 million half-year profit
Premium Auditor General pokes holes in G-to-G oil deal
Premium Retail, insurance singled out for topping suppliers' list of shame