Today, June 14, Rabobank Foundation and SoilCares Foundation have signed a MoU in the presence of minister Van Dam of Agriculture of the Netherlands. The MoU will see Rabobank Foundation donate EUR 400,000 to enable the introduction of over 150 SoilCares scanners, with the aim of assisting smallholder farmers realize better soil fertility, productivity and income. The SoilCares scanner is the first device in the world providing very affordable, realtime, on-the-spot soil analyses and fertiliser recommendations. With the scanner, Kenyan smallholder farmers will be able to determine which fertiliser inputs are needed and at what quantities. Kenya is the first country where the scanner will be introduced. Minister Van Dam is in Kenya and Tanzania this week. Focus of this visit is the development of potato production and yield improvements. The SoilCares scanner can also contribute to these developments.
SoilCares (now part of AgroCares) is a spin-off of one of the oldest and best agricultural laboratories in the Netherlands. It is the SoilCares’ dream to bring all the knowledge from an agricultural laboratory literally in the hands of all farmers worldwide, in a very affordable way. After years of development and research, SoilCares has developed the SoilCares Scanner, which will now be introduced in Kenya. With this support from Rabobank Foundation, the scanner can be used on a larger scale and business models based on maximal impact for smallholder farmers, can be tested. Rabobank Foundation has entered a partnership with SoilCares Foundation. SoilCares Foundation was established to maximise impact on smallholder farmers with SoilCares’ technologies. SoilCares Foundation and Rabobank Foundation will create impact among smallholder farmers in Kenya, using the first scanners and complementary training programmes.
Rabobank Foundation aims to contribute improving the position of smallholder farmers in developing countries. By supporting farmer cooperatives they will have access to financial means, knowledge and networks. The cooperation with SoilCares will contribute to achieving this goal. By using the scanner and the complementary training, farmers will gain knowledge about their soil and the right input of fertilisers, which can improve productivity. This will lead to positive effects on famers’ incomes and food security. The partnership between Rabobank Foundation and SoilCares Foundation is an excellent example of the Banking for food strategy of Rabobank, to contribute to feeding the world on a more sustainable basis. Support from Rabobank is very important to SoilCares. The cooperation with Rabobank will contribute to the economic and organisational proof of concept of the SoilCares scanner, so smallholder farmers worldwide will benefit as soon as possible from the scanner.
How does it work?
All SoilCares’ products are equipped with sensors and are based on smart databases. The SoilCares scanner is equipped with a small Near Infrared sensor and an EC meter and can scan soils. Through a blue tooth connexion the data of the scan are transferred via an App on a smartphone to the SoilCares Global Soil Database, consisting of thousands of soil analyses. After a comparison is made between the data in the database and data of the scan, fertiliser recommendations (based on extensive calculations) are given on the smartphone within a minute and can be printed.