Smallholder farmers in Kenya are set to benefit from a new organic fertilizer that will help fix degraded soils and increase crop yields by 15 to 20 per cent.
According to a 2016 research by the Kenya Agricultural Productivity Project on land degradation assessment in the country, soil erosion risk mapping revealed that almost all the counties in Kenya are at risk from one form of land degradation or other.
The problem was found to be serious because high land degradation is likely to occur on about 61.4 per cent of the total area of Kenya, while very high degradation affects 27.2 per cent of the land.
Land degradation affects especially the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands where the soils are highly erodible and combined with high intensity storms, creates conditions for excessive runoff and soil erosion. The most affected counties include Samburu, Kitui, Garissa, Tana River, Mandera, Turkana, Marsabit, Baringo, West Pokot, Kajiado, Kilifi, Wajir and Makueni. Even some relatively wetter zones also have high propensity for soil erosion, especially on steep slopes of Mt. Kenya and the Aberdares, including parts of Muranga, Nyeri, Meru and Tharaka-Nithi.
“The new product, Growmate, will be in the Kenyan market from July 2019 after it was approved by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service in March last year,” said Dr. Peter Okoth, a soil scientist and agronomist at Newscape Agrosystems Ltd.
Growmate can be applied on all crops as a foliar spray to enable vigorous growth and increase yields.
The organic fertilizer will be 50 cent compared to the current commercial fertilisers in the market.