Experts warn about declining soil fertility in Mt Kenya

Monday November 13 2017

Soil fertility

A trader selling bananas at Karatina market in Nyeri County on April 12, 2016. Soil fertility in Mt Kenya region is declining. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By CHARLES WANYORO
More by this Author

Soil scientists have raised the alarm over decline in soil fertility in Mt Kenya region, attributing it to lack of micronutrients.

They said the soil lacked basic micro minerals like zinc, potassium, nitrogen and phosphorous and this affected productivity.

Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation Embu centre director Patrick Gicheru said soil continued to be deprived of nutrients since some fertiliser blenders failed to include basic minerals.

POTASSIUM
Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on Embu Deputy Governor David Kariuki, Dr Gicheru said yields continued to shrink, affecting the livelihood of millions of farmers.

He said the centre was seeking Sh10 million to set up a soil testing laboratory to advice farmers on proper ways to replenish their soils.

Dr Gicheru said soils in banana growing zones were found to be lacking potassium, a key mineral in the fruit.

“Productivity of counties around Mt Kenya has dipped because of the degradation of the soil and failure to use the right fertilisers.

AWARENESS

"When we conduct soil nutrition tests, we find most soils lacking basic micro nutrients. Zinc is also lacking in most soils in central and western Kenya,” he said.

Mr Kariuki said the county government would partner with the organisation to educate farmers on proper crop and animal husbandry.

He said they would set up a kitty to buy improved varieties of fruit seeds.