LAND OVERUSE

Declining soil fertility hurts food production

In Summary

• Warria from the Kenya Market Trust said the future of the food basket areas is bleak because the soil has lost all its nutrients.

• Director of Agricultural Research in the Ministry of Agriculture Oscar Magenya said the government had put in place measures to address soil issues.

Heaps of soil
SOIL FERTILITY: Heaps of soil
Image: /COURTESY

Scientists have warned of a gloomy future in the country’s food production due to sharp drop in soil fertility.

They have attributed this to climate change, in which rich soil has been washed away during floods and overuse of land by farmers.

This was said during the opening of the annual Soil Science Society of East Africa (SSSEA) Conference at the Lake Naivasha Country Club. The forum brought together more than 200 delegates from the region.

 

Charles Warria from the Kenya Market Trust said the future of the food basket areas is bleak because the soil has lost all its nutrients.

“This is not a laughing matter because very soon we will be overtaken by our neighbours whose good use of soil has made them food sufficient,” he said.

Warria said manufacturers were willing to come on board by providing agricultural limes that would boost soil fertility as a means of improving its quality.

“Time has come for farmers to work with manufactures of these limes that would be mixed with fertilisers to promote the quality of soil other than the normal use of DAP,” he said.

Director of Agricultural Research in the Ministry of Agriculture Oscar Magenya said the government had put in place measures to address soil issues.

Magenya said they were promoting and disseminating soil knowledge, information and technologies (KIT) and target Integrated Agricultural Research for Development (IAR4D) at all levels.

“We are supporting the involvement of soil scientists in pursuance of their interests in the public and private sector while promoting soil science research for development,” he said.

 

KALRO director general Eliud Kireger said increasing land degradation, impacts of climate change, drought and desertification resulted in lower productivity of arable lands and ecosystem services.

“These are some of the major causes of soil degradation that scientists are meeting to discuss and come up with practicable solutions that will assist our farmers make high yields,” he said.

Nakuru Agriculture executive Immaculate Maina said they were working with several research institutions in a bid to address the quality of soil for farmers in the county.

“We are working closely with Egerton University, Baraka Agricultural College and KALRO to address these challenges facing our farmers,” he said.