At least 12 lead farmers from different parts of Busia County met at a home in Nambale Sub-county for a soil training session. In Bungoma County, farmers gathered in Kimilili to receive an interpretation of soil test results from their fields.
Led by Dr. Edwin Rotich, a biotechnologist and soil scientist lecturer at Moi University – and accompanied by officers from PlantVillage – the farmers got an interactive opportunity to learn about the science and fertility of the soil.
Dr. Rotich began by breaking down components of the soil and went a long way in explaining how its chemical properties affects soil fertility.
“For the soil to sustain crops, there should be a good balance between its acidity and alkalinity as well as the matter that makes it up,” he said.
The soils were tested for four element; PH, organic carbon, nitrogen and phosphate. The soil expert elaborated that plants grow well in a soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. An ideal organic carbon should be above 2% while nitrogen should be 0.1%.Organic carbon can be increased by using dead plants matter including dead leaves. He noted that the components that make up soil should be distributed as follows:
• Organic matter– 5%
• Minerals– 46%
• Water– 25%
• Air– 25%
He further helped farmers whose soils had been tested to analyze the results. The farmers from different parts of Busia County and Bungoma County got their questions answered by the expert.
This exercise was made possible by collaborative efforts from farmers and PlantVillage who cost shared the price of soil testing via the lab of the University of Eldoret.
Written By; Samuel Ondori