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Daily Nation : February 18th 2014
36 | Advertising Feature THE OFFICIAL RELEASE OF THE SOIL TEST RESULTS AND FLAGGING-OFF OF SUBSIDIZED FERTILIZER AT EGERTON UNIVERSITY, NAKURU COUNTY ON 18th FEBRUARY, 2014 Thеmе: ‘ENHANCING SOIL FERTILITY FOR GREATER PRODUCTIVITY’ ‘UDONGO WENYE ROTUBA KWA KUIMARISHA UZALISHAJI” Message from the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, vertising Feature THE OFFICIAL RELEASE OF THE SOIL TEST RESULTS AND FLAGGING-OFF OF SUBSIDIZED FERTILIZER AT EGERTON UNIVERSITY, NAKURU COUNTY ON 18th FEBRUARY, 2014 Thеmе: ‘ENHANCING SOIL FERTILITY FOR GREATER PRODUCTIVITY’ ‘UDONGO WENYE ROTUBA KWA KUIMARISHA UZALISHAJI” Message from the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Cabinet Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries 18th, February this year officially release the National Soil test results and flagg off lorries containing Subsidized fertilizers at a ceremony taking place at Egerton university, Njoro, in Nakuru, County. I most sincerely thank the President for accepting to officiate at this function which is a clear indication of the Kenya Government’s commitment towards H is Excellency the President of Kenya, Hon. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, CGH will today Tuesday ensuring that the country achieves and sustains food security. In regards to the National Soil Tests Results, I am happy to share with you all that my Ministry, through the State Department of Agriculture, and specifically the National Accelerated Agricultural Inputs Access Programme (NAAIAP) in collaboration with Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) has carried out tests on our soils to establish their fertility status to inform the country of the most efficient and effective mode of soil management practices that will increase the productivity of our farms. Over 10,000 samples taken from 44 counties were tested and analyzed for suitability of crop production under rain fed conditions. In addition to this, the National Irrigation Board (NIB) undertook similar tests at the One million acre food security project Galana Kulalu irrigation scheme (A Vision 2030 flag ship project) at Tana River/ Kilifi Counties. More tests were carried out by the Small Holder Development program (SHDP) in 9 irrigation schemes to determine the best soil management practices for production under irrigation. I am encouraging all stakeholders to embrace change by adopting the fertilizer recommendations to enable the country attain food security for our population. To realize economic growth, the Kenyan economy has and will continue to rely on agriculture for its development agenda. Our aim is to invest in our smallholder resource poor farmers to assist them increase their productivity through fertilizer subsidy programs The Kenya government is implementing key programmesas envisaged Vision 2030 which has laid out various interventions meant to make fertilizer affordable. One such intervention is local fertilizer manufacturing. In pursuit of this intervention, a feasibility study was undertaken in 2012 which indicated that local fertilizer manufacturing is feasible using imported raw materials. In this respect, the Government is in the process of identifying a strategic partner to undertake the investment. The average fertilizer use is still less than 10kg per acre against the recommended rate of 75 kg per acre. With such low fertilizer use, the nutrient balance in most production systems is negative, resulting in depletion of soil nutrients which is a fundamental root cause for declining food and cash crop production. The bulk fertilizer procurement programme seeks to exploit economies of scale and is expected to lower the prices of fertilizer. The long term goal of the government is to establish a fertilizer factory in the country to reduce costs and is now looking for potential investors for the project. The present annual fertilizer consumption in the country is Message from the Principal Secretary, State Department of Agriculture The agricultural sector in Kenya comprises 3.5 million small scale farmers who on average own 2.5 acres of land; another 72,000 medium to large scale farmers who own above 25 acres of arable land. The government recognizes that smallholder farmers make a significant contribution towards ensuring food security and generation of incomes through production of 75% of food and cash crops and livestock. However, smallholders utilize little farm inputs coupled with poor technical capacity leading to low productivity and deterioration of soil fertility, further causing food insecurity and abject poverty. The Government in its effort to increase access and affordability of agricultural inputs to the very resource-poor farmers as envisaged in Vision 2030, the State Department of Agriculture is implementing the National Accelerated Agricultural Inputs Access Programme (NAAIAP) targeting 2.5 million resource poor farmers. The primary objective of NAAIAP is to improve access and affordability of the key inputs for the millions of smallholder farmers, so that they can get out of the vicious cycle of poverty and participate in agriculture as a business enterprise. The Agricultural Sector Development Strategy (ASDS) has identified low productivity as one of the main challenges that have hindered the growth of the sector. The yield and value of some crops over the last five years have either remained constant or are on the decline. The decline in the productivity has continued in spite of the successive introduction of new crop varieties, adequate rainfall and associated fertilizer and pesticide recommendations. The continued decline in productivity has been scientifically attributed to the decline in organic matter content, acidity and inappropriate fertilizer use among others. Sicily K. Kariuki (Mrs), MBS It is in view of the this that NAAIAP in collaboration with KARI embarked on a country wide soil testing exercise to inform fertilizer use for different regions. To date soil tests have been finalized on 5,040 farms in 164 sub-counties. We advise farmers to have their soils tested regularly to determine the soil fertility levels preferably every three years. The soil test results will guide the farmers in fertilizer combinations as well as other soil fertility management practices. The currently, smallholder farmers have limited access to farm inputs and services. The inputs and other support services are also expensive consequently, the government has introduced subsidized fertilizer program to enable farmers access fertilizers at affordable prices. The fertilizer will be distributed according to the recommendations provided by the soil analysis results. As we launch these results, we encourage farmers and stakeholders in the fertilize industry to carry out soil investigations that enable the country to effectively manage our soils, conserve the environment and increase farm productivity. Message from the Director, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) The mandate of the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) is to contribute to national development, more specifically to agricultural development through the generation of technologies, new knowledge and innovations. To achieve its mandate, KARI operates through six broad-based thematic areas of intervention. One of the key research intervention area is the enhancement of sustainable and integrated management of natural resources. This includes research on integrated soil fertility management. Soil is the most valuable and widespread natural resource Ephraim A. Mukisira (PhD, MBS), Director, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) but research results indicate a general decline in land productivity due to declining soil fertility. This decline is mainly attributed to continuous mining of soil nutrients and inappropriate farming practices. The poor understanding of the various farming practices, inadequate use of the right farm inputs and blanket fertilizer recommendations have all aggravated the soil fertility situation in the country. To achieve sustainable agricultural productivity, there is need to aim at attaining high yields per unit of area of land while at the same time conserving the soil resources. This is more so because of increasing land pressure due to the rising population and hence the need for the efficient utilization of the soils. It is noteworthy that soil investigations are the farmers’ best bet towards the efficient utilization of fertilizers and, in general, for soil amendments. The ultimate goal is to achieve optimal crop yields, and maximize the profits. Unfortunately many smallholder farmers and some extension agents are unaware of the opportunities available to enhance land productivity through soil CONTINUED NEXT PAGE approximately 530,000 Metric tonnes compared to the recommended one (1) million Metric tonnes if the recommended rates were used. At this optimal level of fertilizer use, food production would increase by 30%. While local fertilizer manufacturing is awaited, the Cabinet approved the creation of Fertilizer and Seed Development Fund in August 2013 with an initial capital of Kes.3 billion building up to Kshs. 15 billion in next 5 years for the purposes of making these inputs affordable. As a stop gap measure, the government procures fertilizer and sells to farmers at a subsidized price. The aim is to cushion the fertilizer price from fluctuating during the seasons. Under this initiative, 142,750 MT of assorted fertilizers have been imported since the beginning of this year to be distributed countrywide. In order to spur growth in fertilizer use, the Government has initiated various interventions. These are:Liberalization of the Fertilizer Trade • • • Waiver of Taxes on Fertilizers Provision of fertilizer to resource poor farmers through programs such as NAAIAP. I once again welcome members of the public, to turn out in large numbers and attend the two days event. Message from Agriculture Secretary, State Department of Agriculture, Today is very important occasion for the State Department of Agriculture as we launch the results of the soil testing and analysis exercise carried out in 44 Counties in the country and flag off government subsidized fertilizers that will be issued to targeted resource poor farmers in the form of input grants through the NAAIAP program. Soil fertility management practices go a long way in assisting our farmers to raise their productivity for food security as well as economic growth. Achieving food security requires a number of critical issues that should be addressed; Access to affordable and quality farm inputs • DAILY NATION Tuesday February 18, 2014 in particular seed and fertilizer by the farming community accompanied by requisite training on soil management practices including soil testing. • A conducive environment that acts as an incentive to farmers to shift from subsistence to farming as a business in the form of access to markets and price incentives as well as appropriate insurance schemes. Anna Onyango (MBS) Agriculture Secretary, State Department of Agriculture The soil testing and analysis carried out by NAAIAP in collaboration with KARI provides the necessary guidelines on the types and quantities of fertilizers required in the various sub-counties for increased productivity. The results are especially useful to farmers, agro dealers and other players in the fertilizer industry to purchase and stock the right combinations of fertilizers suitable to the different regions in the country. It is my hope that the soil test results and recommendations will be adopted by all agricultural stakeholders and that the County Governments will carry out soil investigation exercises in their Counties to inform them on the best soil management practices with a view to increasing productivity.
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