Samples of soils tested in Kakamega have confirmed presence of high acidity, especially in soils collected from Mumias Sub County.
The Director of Tumaini Veterinary Services, a USAID’s Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems (KCDMS) implementing local partner of Soil Health Hygiene Programme in Kakamega Dr. Winston Wanjala said soil analysis conducted also showed low levels of phosphorus and potassium among the samples tested.
He said phosphorus is a nutrient responsible for root development, with its low quantity making roots weak and unable to absorb other essential nutrients from the soil.
Speaking in Likuyani during the soil testing campaign, Dr. Wanjala said high soil acidity causes some nutrients to increase or decrease to abnormal levels.
He said the optimal level of soil PH is 7 urging farmers to conduct soil tests and use lime fertilisers to maintain their soil Health hygiene.
The director noted that poor soil health hygiene which lacks essential minerals for plant growth is the reason for dwindling and poor harvests among farmers from Kakamega.
The soil testing and hygiene programme was launched on Monday 28 this month and will go on until September 15.
Tumaini Veterinary Services which is implementing the programme in Kakamega is targeting to collect and test about 10 000 soils samples from the county for free by the end of the testing campaign.
Selected Village Based Networks in Kakamega have been given a testing tool where farmers can take their soils for testing even after the end of the free testing campaign period.
Dr. Wanjala noted that they will then share the results of the tests with the Kakamega County Government to be used in making decisions to improve farming practices in the county.
He urged the county government to work with fertilizer manufacturers to produce specific fertilizer with essential nutrients that are suitable for specific places in the county.
He also asked the county government to ensure they support farmers to test their soils and avail the necessary fertilizer before planting.
The County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture Benjamin Andama said that despite farmers in Kakamega working hard in their farms, little has been achieved due to poor farming practices.
“We expect that after farmers know the status of their soils they will go ahead and treat their soils by using appropriate fertilizers,” he noted.