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Daily Nation : February 18th 2014
DAILY NATION Tuesday February 18, 2014 Advertising Feature 37 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” FROM PREVIOUS PAGE testing. The extension agents also need to be trained on dissemination and monitoring of impact indicators after research interventions. Considering this, KARI was contracted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MoALF) to undertake soil sampling and analysis, and establish fertilizer recommendations for maize production for the National Accelerated Inputs Access Programme (NAAIAP). KARI also conducted soil suitability assessments for irrigated agriculture in various small holder irrigation schemes and the Galana/ Kulalu Food Security Project. The results of these analyses have been compiled into individual sub-county soil suitability evaluation reports. These reports contain the soil fertility status of each sub-county and fertilizer recommendations for individual farms that were sampled. It is noteworthy that the soil suitability evaluation reports for maize production will go a long way in providing diagnostic information on soil fertility status of each sub-county; they will guide on the most efficient fertilizer formulation/blend and management decisions. Consequently, the reports will provide a scientifically sound baseline for monitoring changes and impacts of certain actions on the soils. KARI appreciates to have been part of the team that undertook this noble exercise. It is hoped that the launch of these County Soil Suitability Reports will herald a new era that will see farmers apply the right fertilizer for each crop grown. farmers through provision of agricultural inputs and capacity building in the hope that with time these farmers can participate in and view agriculture as a business enterprise. The programme aims at increasing productivity at farm level through the following approaches: T 1. PROVISION OF INPUTS GRANTS (KILIMO PLUS) Under this grant, targeted resource poor farmers who own 2.5 acres of land or less are provided with input grant through the voucher system from trained and accredited agro-dealers.. Recommended basal fertilizers, topdressing fertilizers and 10kgs of hybrid maize seed are provided to cover at least 1 acre of a maize crop. 2. AGRICULTURAL CREDIT GUARANTEE SCHEME (ACGS – KILIMO BIASHARA) This is a risk sharing facility between the government and participating financial institutions (Equity bank, Family bank, KWFT and Cooperative bank) to facilitate access to financial services. Agro-dealers, farmers and other suppliers access a negotiated subsidized credit at 12% per annum. SOIL TESTING AND FERTILIZER RECOMMMENDATION. Since inception, NAAIAP utilized blanket fertilizer recommendations across the country and in most cases the same fertilizer type was provided in all the regions of the program areas. To mitigate environmental concerns on soil health, efficiency and effectiveness of fertilizer use, NAAIAP embarked on a country wide soil testing exercise to inform fertilizer recommendations for different soils and regions. With financial assistance from the European Union through the World Bank, NAAIAP contracted KARI in 2012/13 FY to analyze soils from around the country. So far samples from 164 counties have been analyzed. IMPORTANCE OF SOIL TESTING AND INTERPRETATION OF RESULTS Kenya has 25 major soil groups based on soil properties he National Accelerated Agricultural Input Access Program addresses the problem of food security and poverty among resource-poor resulting from the interaction between climate, topography parent material, organisms time. Research conducted over years indicates that there is a gener decline in land productivity due declining soil fertility that arises from: · Continuous mining of nutrients by crops without adequate replenishment; · Inappropriate farming practic such as lack of crop rotations, cultivating down slope and cultivation along river banks · Inappropriate soil conservation methods; · Soil compaction due to mechanization; · Land degradation due to erosion of fertile top soils; · Continuous use of acidifying fertilizers by farmers; · Inadequate knowledge on crop requirements and soil characteristics; · Blanket fertilizer recommendations; . Investigating soils to address some of these issues is therefore encouraged. The main objective of the soil testing exercise carried out by the Ministry was to identify key soil fertility problems that are a hindrance to the attainment of optimal crop yields within the project areas; to develop a long term soil fertility improvement strategy and to provide recommendations for the most appropriate fertilizer formulation/blend for various cropping systems. The results of the soil testing exercise are expected to be beneficial to farmers and farmer organizations, Extension service providers, Fertilizer Manufacturers/ Importers/blenders, Agro-input dealers, Policy makers and academicians among others., Specific results for each of the Sub Counties where samples were taken for analysis are available at the Sub County Agricultural office. The reports provide information on; 1. The level of macro and micro nutrients in the soils 2. The total organic matter 3. The soil pH 4. And provides recommendations on the most appropriate fertilizer (organic and inorganic) formulations based on the test results. SMALL-SCALE HORTICULTURE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT(SHDP) CORDINATOR JANE G. NGUGI Introduction Small Scale Horticulture Development Project (SHDP), funded by African Development Bank and the Government of Kenya, has been in operation since 2008/09 financial year and will be completed in December 2014. The project has been operating in 9 irrigation schemes distributed in 7 counties of Kajiado, Narok, Nakuru, Elgeyo Marakwet, Machakos, Tharaka and Embu. The schemes are Namelok and Ngurumani Irrigation schemes in Kajiado, Mosiro Irrigation scheme in Narok, Lari Wendani Irrigation scheme in Nakuru, Kabanon Kapkamak irrigation scheme in Elgeyo Marakwet, Kabaa and Kauti Irrigation schemes in Machakos, Kathiga Gacheru Irrigation scheme in Embu and Mbogoni Irrigation scheme in Tharaka Nithi. The project target putting 2917 ha under irrigation, benefiting 8,697 and one million households directly and indirectly respectively. The project mission is to improve the livelihoods of smallholder horticulture producers in the project area by promoting competitive production and marketing of horticultural products. The Project Specific Objective is to increase household incomes of smallholder horticultural producers through increased production and marketing. Horticulture Production Vis- a-vis Soil fertility Improved horticulture production will depend on the right choice of enterprise and correct use of inputs. Different soil types and conditions require different inputs for specific crops for optimum production. Technical evaluation of soil fertility is pr-requisite to increased productivity. To enhance Horticulture productivity in the target schemes, the project signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) to undertake soil fertility management activities. This includes soil characterisation and clustering, Soil and water testing and giving recommendations on specific farm interventions. They were also tasked to train both farmers and staff on use of appropriate inputs and cultural practices in horticultural production. The reports on the results of soil characterisation and clustering have been concluded for 5 irrigation schemes. This includes Ngurumani, Kabanon Kapkamak, Mosiro, Kabaa and Kathiga Gacheru, they presented to farmers and stakeholders. They indicate specific constraints and interventions for different soil clusters for the Irrigation schemes. With these results, farmers will have information on specific soil treatments that will enhance their decision making in production of high value crops. These enterprises target both export and local markets and will contribute to increased incomes which shall improved their livelihoods. The report will assist in identifying the right fertilizer required and help the government in determining the appropriate fertilizers to be imported hence save the scarce foreign currency used in the importation of inappropriate fertilizer types. This saving can be channeled to other needy areas of development like expansion of irrigated agricultural area The information on soil fertility will empower the farmer to make the right choice of fertilizer to use hence lead to increased productivity, farm income, Food security and improved living standards, assist the government in achieving its overall economic development, and Vision 2030. Finally the Ministry highly recommends t farmers should carry out soil estigations on their farms to guide them on the appropriate soil management requirement for optimal yields. SUBSIDIZED FERTILIZERS Rose Mwangi National Program Coordinator NAAIAP enya Vision 2030 has laid out various interventions meant to make fertilizer affordable. One such intervention is local tilizer 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 1. respect, the Government is in the process of identifying a strategic partner to undertake the investment. The present annual fertilizer consumption in the country is 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%. In order to spur growth in fertilizer use, the Government has initiated various interventions. These are:Liberalization of the Fertilizer Trade 2. Waiver of Taxes on Fertilizers 3. Provision of fertilizer to resource poor farmers through programs such as NAAIAP. 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.
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February 19th 2014