Kenya: 19 Million Hectares Acidic, Says Munya

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Some 19 million hectares in western, Nyanza and parts of the Rift Valley are acidic, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, Peter Munya has said.

The CS blamed the acidity to poor fertiliser use.

“We must change the way we do things if we have to improve food productivity,” said Munya in Kisumu County during the recent launch of an electronic voucher system that will be used to deliver subsidised farm inputs to smallholder farmers.

Munya said that for the past 12 years, the government has been supplying farmers with the same type of fertilisers, what has also contributed to the poisoning of the soils.

Dr Stanley Tarus, Trans Nzoia’s deputy governor, said farmers in the county were among the worst affected.

However, he noted that they have now switched to blended fertilisers. “We first started with soil testing in 2013 to find out why yields were declining,” said Dr Tarus.

“We found that apart from the changing climatic conditions, all our soils were already acidic due to use of the same fertilisers that just provided two nutrients – nitrogen and phosphorous,” he said.

Experts note that plants need more than 10 key nutrients for proper growth, which must, therefore, be replenished every time through use of fertilisers.

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