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Kenya says increasing soil acidity affects food security goal

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Christian Fernsby |
Kenya farmer
Africa   There is widespread lack of awareness about soil needs

Increasing soil acidity is complicating Kenya's goal of achieving food security by lowering farmer's yields.

Hamadi Boga, principal secretary of the state department of agricultural research in the Ministry of Agriculture, told journalists in Nairobi that most of the agricultural land especially in the country's breadbasket region is affected by high acidity levels.

"Increasing soil acidity as result of overusing incorrect fertilizers is the greatest limitation on crop production," Boga said.

He added that there is widespread lack of awareness about soil needs as most farmers have not conducted soil tests to find out the health of their soil.

Boga said that Kenya is keen to the agriculture sector because it contributes about 33 percent of the country's GDP and most of the workforce and exports rely on agriculture.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, about 70 percent to 80 percent of farmers are small holders and face numerous challenges such as lack of access to high quality seeds.

Boga said that significant investment is required to improve the ability of small-scale farmers to invest in superior inputs so that they increase their yields and, ultimately, incomes.

The government official noted that over reliance on maize as a staple crop is also affecting food security in the country.

Boga said that most farmers prefer growing maize despite only five percent of the country's land being suitable for the crop.

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