By Orenge Wycliff
Governor Paul Simba Arati Flagging off the soil testing campaign at Kisii Agricultural Training Centre (ATC). Photo | Simba Arati Facebook
Kisii County governor Paul Simba Arati has today flagged off the soil testing exercise across the county. An exercise that is expected to take two days.
This comes as one way of ensuring that the farmers from across the county are able to first understand the fertility of the soils in their farms before embarking on planting for the next season.
In the recent years, Food scarcity has been witnessed in the county that was always known as a county of plenty whereby the studies conducted showed that the reason for the little food production has been inability of the farmers to study and understand the acidity or the alkalinity of the soil which in respect should indicate the types of food that should be planted or chemicals to be used to stabilize the sustainability of food production in the region.
As a way of mitigating the problem of food shortage in the county, the Governor Paul Simba Arati Held a function at the Kisii Agricultural Training Centre (ATC) whereby he dispatched a soil testing caravan to the field to sensitize farmers on the need to test their soils to understand their soil PH and adhere to appropriate soil treatments.
The governor said that his government is looking forward to conducting at least 9,000 random tests on the soil PH across the county.
“We are looking forward to conducting at least 9,000 random Soil PH tests across the county. Additionally, my team will do another 200 comprehensive soil tests in the county in order to understand the specific nature of our soils,”said Governor Simba.
This has happened barely after five months since he together with the agriculture specialists inaugurated the soil testing exercise in the Soil Fertility Day in March earlier this year At the Kisii ATC.
Statistics from a national soil report in the year 2014 and reports from the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) indicate that most soils in the country are acidic with pH level of below 4.3 instead of the recommended 5.5-7.5.
Simba attributed the low pH levels to the continued land mining and use of acidic and other inorganic fertilizers leading to declining yields that pose a major challenge in food security not only in Kisii but also to the nation at large.
“During my campaigns, I made a promise to the people of Kisii that if elected, I will make the county food secure one by examining and addressing challenges our farmers are facing. This can be achieved by valuing and safeguarding our soil because it is a valuable resource that supports our food security,” said the Governor.”Simba Arati- Governer Kisii county
The Governor added that nutrition is a cornerstone of the local economy and that for the county to feed its people, the issue of soil health must be addressed.
Soil testing Kit. Photo | Simba Arati Facebook
The county boss thanked development partners like the USAID through the Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems (KCDMS), KARLO, OCP, YARA, AgriSeedCo Limited and Enochem Agrovet for ensuring that this program is fruitful.
Through Enochem Agrovet, technicians have been trained to help farmers test their soils. More than 1, 000 farmers have had their soil samples tested for pH and appropriate soil treatments including agricultural lime have been offered to some farmers.
Governor Simba Arati Pose for a photo alongside the stakeholders in the agriculture sector. Photo. Simba Arati Facebook
He appealed to farmers to make good use of the opportunity and adopt sustainable soil management practices to enhance soil health in order to achieve productive agricultural activities.
The farmers now have a role to play in order to achieve the Maximum productivity of their farms by ensuring that they use the fertilizers and chemicals that go hand in hand with their soil PH. This is one way of ensuring that there is an increase in food productivity in the region to mitigate hunger in the region.