Speaking to journalists after having demonstrated a practical training to farmers in Mtwango area, Njombe Region over the weekend, a Senior Official with the Southern Agriculture Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGOT), Adam Ndaturu the test is key to understand the type and the quantity of the fertiliser to apply.
“Many farmers have no tendency of testing soil prior to applying fertiliser, so they end up applying fertiliser without a prior knowledge of what is really the problem of the soil,” he said, adding that inappropriate use fertilizer may lead to killing of nutrients in the soil.
He said same kind of crops if cultivated repeatedly in a piece of land have a tendency of killing soil nutrients thus it’s important that a farmer conduct a test before deciding what kind of fertiliser to apply.
“It is important to adhere to principles of farming by changing crops every season, this is key in protecting the health of the soil,” he said.
He hailed SAGCOT for making sure that farm inputs are accessed in time especially seeds, fertiliser and training on modern farming methods and already production has increased.
“What we are emphasizing at the moment is the importance of testing soil to find out kind of nutrients missing so as to decide what kind of fertiliser to apply, this will reduce unnecessary costs and will boost production,” he said.
He pointed out that this time around trainings have been conducted at Lusitu and Mtwango villages, adding that such trainings would continue with the aim of making sure that the entire region is covered.
“Soil testing experts are available in the region therefore it is the farmers responsibility to mobilise themselves in ensuring that they acquire the services. It costs 30,000/- for a single farmer but the price can go down if farmers are organised in groups,” he said.
Agricultural Officer from Njombe District Council, Wilson Joel called on farmers to make use of extension officers to advice on the samples of soil for test.
“Farmers should not decide on themselves, the kind of soil to take to lab, they should consult extension officers because it takes expertise to understand what kind of soil in the farm need to be tested for accurate outcome,” he said.
He said that soil testing needs to be done every after three years and the intention to find out the shortage of nutrients and the quantity of the lime and fertilizer that needs to be applied in the soil.
The Vice Chairperson of Isowelu Cooperative, Monica Lugenge thanked SAGCOT for the training and the provision of lime for their farm.
“We will make sure that the knowledge that we have acquired is extended to other farmers so that they can understand the importance of testing their soil in a bid to increase productivity,” she said.