Management of soil fertility is an effective solution to poor crop yields. However, lack of access to information means that smallholder farmers do not adopt better soil management techniques leading to decreased yields and low returns on their investments. To combat this, Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA) is working with Yara and Crop Nutrition Laboratory Services Ltd (Cropnuts) in East Africa to provide integrated soil fertility management solutions to smallholder farmers across Kenya.
Through this initiative, farmers double and sometimes triple their yields and increase profitability in various value chains. They are now more informed about their crop’s nutritional needs, their fertilizer strategy, and ultimately reducing input costs. YARA is directly supporting farmer access to soil testing by underwriting 50% of tests performed by Cropnuts. To date, this collaboration has resulted in 601 farmers having their soil tested, totalling USD 3,482 in direct support of Yara to FtMA farmers in Kenya (at USD 5.79 per test)
Meet Paul Nyaga, a beans farmer in Enoosaen Village, Shankoe Ward of Kilgoris Constituency, and a member of the Kilgoris Farmers Association.
Paul was farming 15 acres of Common Beans using conventional farming methods. His harvest in a typical season was 6-8 (90 Kgs bag) bags per acre while applying farm manure and sometimes fertilizer in some seasons. He noticed his harvest was on a decreasing trend, forcing him to shift to other crops like Maize, which also started to deteriorate! As part of the FtMA, Yara and Cropnuts project, Paul was introduced to Soil Testing: the results showed that the soils were low on Nitrogen and phosphate nutrients.
On less land, with better practices, Paul increased his production, and was able to access premium market prices thanks to his engagement with FtMA. Because of his experience, Paul himself is now in FSC training, and actively advocates for farmers to join the program.