- Already, the facility has been key in sugarcane production as Sony Sugar Company, has been using samples from it to help in cane production.
- He said the centre will support farmers in making informed crop choices and deciding on the most preferred seed type.
Farmers in Western Kenya are set to benefit from a Sh23million soil analysis laboratory at Rongo University.
The facility will help farmers and institutions to ascertain the soil fertility, inputs to use and crops to plant to improve yields.
Already, the facility has been key in sugarcane production as Sony Sugar Company, has been using samples from it to help in cane production.
It has helped sugarcane farmers decide on the best fertiliser and when to plant depending on the water retention level.
On Tuesday the facility was commissioned by the Principal Secretary State Department for University Education and Research Amb Simon Nabukwesi.
“This is the first facility in Western Kenya and it will greatly improve agricultural yields in the regions that have been faced by poor yield and help investors to make informed choices,” he said.
He said the centre will support farmers in making informed crop choices and deciding on the most preferred seed type.
“Farmers have been grappling with low returns despite spending a fortune on farm inputs, this facility will revolutionise farming in this region,” he said.
He noted that the university had skilled manpower and had already partnered with key stakeholders in the sector to enhance productivity by helping farmers fully utilise their farms to mitigate food insecurity occasion by climate change.
University’s Vice-Chancellor Prof Samuel Gudu outlined that they have been having contacting farmers, encouraging them to bring their soil samples for lab analysis.
“We have allowed farmers to sample their soil and bring it to us for analysis. We will then go back and explain to them what needs to be done to improve yields, what is missing and the quantity to put in,” Gudu said.
He said the facility has already helped open new lands for millet farming and he hopes it will spur large-scale and commercial farming.
“We have farmers who have also been keen on starting horticulture and fruit farming on a large-scale, we hope transform rural Western Kenya into a food basket,” he said.
Rongo University Council chairperson Dr Rachel Masake said they have set a raft of measures to ensure they not only improve the economic livelihoods but to spur agricultural growth.
“Our priority has always been to see that whatever comes out of this facility is viable and impactful not only to our immediate environs but the nation at large,” she said.
“This laboratory is a milestone achievement as it will help tackle the challenges associated with inconsistent crop production witnessed in this region."
(Edited by Tabnacha O)