“Soil testing technology popular with Kenyan farmers; 84% want to continue using it for testing their soils.”
Do farmers in Kenya really benefit from working with new soil testing technology? And how do they perceive the recommendations they receive after testing their soils? Those were some of the most important questions that came up in a survey about the adoption of new soil testing technology that SoilCares Foundation carried out amongst Kenyan farmers earlier this year.
The main results of the survey showed:
1) Farmers increase their yields with the recommendations
Almost half the farmers (43%) showed increased yields as a result of applying the recommendations that came out of their soil tests. The farmers that did not see an increase in their yields were affected by drought.
2) There is a recurring demand for soil testing
Out of all farmers that had their soil tested with new soil testing technology, 84% of them will ask for soil testing with this new technology again.
3) Farmers adapt application of fertilisers based on the recommendations
Half the farmers that took part in the survey adapted their application of fertilisers as a result of recommendations. A considerable number offarmers (40%) applied more fertilisers because of the recommendation, whereas 10% of the farmers applied less (but other) fertilisers. Farmers that did not use the recommendations sometimes had no money to do this (25%) or had other reasons not to follow the recommendations.
4) Soil testing is offered most frequently by cooperatives
In most cases farmers could have their soil tested by cooperatives (28%), followed by commercial service providers (28 percent) and input suppliers (16 percent). NGO and other parties were mentioned as possible providers of soil tests.
Christy van Beek, Chief agronomist and Director of the SoilCares Foundation: “At the SoilCares Foundation we find it really important to know whether farmers are actually benefiting from our soil tests. Therefore, we regularly conduct surveys amongst farmers that test their soils with our technology. In our latest survey we found that of all the farmers tested, 84% want to come back the next season for a new test. We believe that this is an amazing result, considering this innovation is so new to farmers. To me this is the best proof that our technology is highly appreciated by them. If it wouldn’t give an immediate positive impact, they wouldn’t come back.”
How was the survey conducted?
The survey was conducted amongst 32 Kenyan farmers that had their soil tested with AgroCares technology. All farmers in the survey were selected randomly from a client database and contacted by phone.