First training on SoilCares Sensor Lab in the Philippines

SoilCares (now part of AgroCares) is rapidly expanding and the first sensor laboratory (Lab-in-a-Box or LiaB) in the Philippines is now set up and fully operational. Two LiaBs were purchased by banana growers Unifrutti Tropical Philippines, Inc. (UTPI) and TADECO to be used for soil analyses on their banana plantations. Last month two of SoilCares lab experts carried out a training in the Philippines. They trained people from UniFrutti and TADECO how to use and maintain the Lab-in-a-Box. 

Intensive four-day training

When a new Lab-in-a-Box is purchased, a team of SoilCares experts goes to the client location to perform the initial installation of the lab and instruct the future lab operators how to use it in the best, most efficient way. Our approach towards new clients is providing an intensive training on how to operate the Lab-in-a-Box (LiaB). We do this to ensure that our clients can analyze their soil samples properly. The SoilCares LiaB is simple to operate, no specialized professional education is required, only a four-day training that we provide.

The process from registering an order to obtaining a soil report

Last month we installed the first LiaB in the Philippines. Eric Wijnen and Alessandro Santato (two of SoilCares trainers) went to Davao City on Mindanao Island to explain the use of LiaB. Twelve people joined the training that walked them through the whole process of soil analysis with Lab-in-a-Box, from registering an order to obtaining a soil report. They learned how to prepare the soil sample (crushing, drying, sieving, milling the soil) and how to scan the sample with the XRF sensor and the Alpha (Mid-Infrared sensor). After Eric and Alessandro explained how it works, the trainees had the chance to try using the equipment themselves.

Cathy from UniFrutti shares her experience: “At first I thought the training would be difficult but as the training goes on, it became easier. I have learned a lot since the training is hands-on and all questions were answered immediately. Alex and Eric are very approachable and accommodating so I don’t have a hard time in understanding how to operate and maintain the new equipment.”

Katryna (Kate) M. Castro & Troy S. Pineda (TADECO) were also satisfied with the training: “The training was a fun-filled, interactive learning experience. We appreciate the hands-on approach because with it we were able to learn faster and increase the retention of the information introduced to us.”

The training also included information on using Zendesk – our customer service platform where clients can find all necessary information and contact SoilCares support officers in case of an issue. Moreover, our trainers explained how to handle error messages and clean and maintain the Lab-in-a-Box.

Eric Wijnen: “During the training we also explained how to pack the LiaB, prepare it for a move to different location and install it again. The third training day took place in a different location. By the time we arrived at the location, the participants of the training had already installed the whole lab, everything was up and running. It was amazing to see how they managed to do this themselves after only two days of training.”

Check below the photos from the training!