Farmers in any part of Kenya can now professionally sample and get a quick analysis about their soils, grow suitable crops and get high returns, thanks to an inter-county mobile soil clinic by Soil Cares, which hopes to affordably bring the service closer to farmers.
Initially, farmers used to rely on the overstretched, expensive, unreachable and slow Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) laboratories to get sampling services, something that made most of them shy away from the critical routine, ultimately leading to low productivity.
To benefit from Soil Cares’ clinic, farmers are required to send a short messages, containing their full names and county name, separated by a hash sign ( e.g. PaulKihara#Njoro) to 20727, and they are immediately updated on when the clinic will be held in their locality.
This initiative comes at a time when a Food Tank report shows that 78 per cent of smallholder farmers across the world have no soils knowledge. The statistics are more worrying in Africa and Asia where a whopping 90 per cent of farmers blindly grow crops. It further shows that soils are being depleted 10-40 times faster than they are being replenished, destroying at least 30 per cent of the global arable land.
Apart from mobile soil clinics, the soil agency is running a separate initiative dubbed Contact Farmer for the Soil Cares, through which they share soil information to farmers . The program identifies and trains farmers in various areas in the country and makes them contact persons for soil sampling and advisory services to their peers. These contact farmers help share information on soil care initiatives, soil health and fertility, instructions on how to sample soils, distribute soil sampling kits and inform them when the soil care mobile laboratory will be in the area.
Contact Farms are recognisable by the Soil Cares Contact Farm Signboard, which is planted in place after registration. Contact farmers benefit from first hand information and a 10-100 per cent discount on soil sampling services offered by the agency based on the number of farmers that he/she mobilizes to use the firm’s services.
Soil Cares Manager Anja Weber says they are banking on soil information especially amongst smallholder farmers to improve crop productivity and food security. Weber insists that poor soils means poor productivity hence should be examined and treated to achieve better results. The company is still recruiting more contact farmers in a bid to reach more farmers in the country.
Soil Care can be reached through +254 728 970 136 or email firstname.lastname@example.org