Tanzania: Govt to Procure Mobile Soil Testing Kits for All Councils
THE government gears up for procuring mobile soil testing kits for all councils in the coming fiscal year to enable farmers to plant crops by considering the type and quality of the soil in a given area.
The soil testing kits will be for free use by every farmer as the government plans to increase productivity.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Gerald Kusaya said this during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Services (JKT) on commercial farming at the weekend.
Mr Kusaya also promised to supply JKT with one soil testing kit. He said knowing the soil status before planting crops was a crucial step in practising modern farming, which in turn transformed the agricultural sector into more productive agriculture.
Mr Kusaya said many farmers across the country harvested below standard or nothing at all due to ignorance of soil fertility and texture and sometimes they planted crops which did not match with the soil texture in a given area.
“In modern farming, you can’t avoid the testing soil health that will help farmers determine if the soil is fertile and how they can improve it or which plants are suitable for it,” he noted.
He added that with soil testing kits, farmers would be able to avoid over or under-fertilisation, which was a common problem among farmers who didn’t test their soil. However, he said the soil testing kits would help farmers realise the soil chemical composition.
“Soil sampling is also a crucial part of the process and so far at least 30,040 soil samples have been collected from 18 regions. Our target is to test the soil in every ward in this country. We expect to have at least 100,000 soil samples. Then, all information will be available online for everyone to access it,” he elaborated.
In addition, the PS said the ministry was in final stages to establish soil labs with international standards. He said initially three labs would be situated at every institution under the ministry.