To improve yields, use crop specific fertilisers and lime, farmers advised

Saturday August 6 2016

John Wambugu tends to healthy maize crop at a demonstration plot at Wambugu Agriculture Training Centre in Nyeri.

John Wambugu tends to healthy maize crop at a demonstration plot at Wambugu Agriculture Training Centre in Nyeri. Meera Paunrana, operations manager at ARM Cement Ltd, attributed dwindling yields to soil acidity, she advises the farmers to use lime in the farm so as to reduce soil acidity and use crop specific fertilisers. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

LEOPOLD OBI
By LEOPOLD OBI
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AS MOST SMALLHOLDER FARMERs in the country continue to record dwindling yields, an expert at a local fertiliser company points to crop specific fertilisers to remedy the situation.

The expert also advises the farmers to use lime in the farm so as to reduce soil acidity that has been the curse to most farmers.

Meera Paunrana, operations manager at ARM Cement Ltd, attributed dwindling yields to soil acidity which has become predominant in most farms across the country.

“Feeding your crops with the right nutrients ensures enhanced yield, for instance, if you are growing fruits like bananas you should go for fertiliser meant for bananas,” Meera said.

She added, “We conducted research between 2000 and 2003 and found out that most of our soils were very acidic. We then decided that every fertiliser we manufacture is mixed with lime to neutralise soil acidity,” Meera explained.

ARM Cement Ltd, formerly Athi River Cement Ltd, is the mother company of the Mavuno Fertiliser division that manufactures Mavuno fertilisers.

The fertiliser according to Meera contains 12 essential plant nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, among others key nutrients.

FERTILISER IN SMALL PACKS

“ARM works closely with agricultural institutions such as Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (kalro), researchers, government and scientists to develop and improve the fertilisers, which enhances soil fertility and improved yields.

The mineral elements are combined in various formulations and blends that create ‘tailor-made’ fertilisers that have been proven to give superior crop yields by over 40 per cent,” she said.

The fertilisers are packed in bags as small as one kilo to 10 kilos and 25 kilos up to 50 kilos.

Packaging the fertilisers in small packs, according to the expert, protects smallholder farmers from opportunistic middlemen who adulterate fertilisers during repackaging.

Mavuno fertiliser sells its products directly to smallholder farmers and also reach them through their distributors located in various parts of the county.

“We also manufacture fertilisers specific to particular soil need of given areas. Soil in Kakamega is, for instance, different from soil in Bungoma, therefore we consider such variables when formulating our fertilisers. We are already doing this in six counties in Western Kenya whose county governments we supply subsidised fertiliser to,” Meera pointed out.