KEVIN ODIT PHOTOFarmers should learn the components used in fertilisers and if they are suitable for their soils, agricultural experts have said.

They noted that many farmers just buy fertilisers without knowing what their soils need, defeating the purpose of using them.

“Farmers need to learn from experts what constitutes the fertiliser if they are to use them correctly,” said Adeline Fabre, the Vice President of Office Cherifien des Phosphates (OCP) during the recent conference in Marrakech, Morroco.

The annual Argus FMB Africa conference attracted over 500 agricultural experts from across the world, but especially from Africa.

The participants noted that there was improved logistical infrastructure for inputs and outputs in Africa, but more needed to be done.

OCP is among fertiliser companies that produce specific brands for particular areas.

Kenya is one of the countries that import fertiliser from the company, with National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) being one of the main buyers

Ms Fabre said the company is setting up a subsidiary in Nairobi.

FARMERS CONTACTS CURVE“Already we have a team of agronomists and other agricultural experts with whom we will be working to identify and find solutions to soil challenges in Kenya.”

As it is done in Morocco, experts will pick soil samples from different regions in Kenya and test them for nutrients before the company manufactures the most suitable fertiliser for each region.

“We especially want to reach the small-scale farmers most of whom have been buying fertiliser just for the sake of it,” said Ms Fabre, noting this did not mean large-scale farmers will not benefit.

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OCP chairman Tarik Chocho noted that Africa’s agriculture production had tripled over the last 30 years with the number of countries that use over 20kg of fertiliser per hectare rising every year.

“We, the fertiliser industry are improving our products with ingredients that are more relevant to soil requirements,” he said.

The conference, sponsored by OCP, called for Africa to feed itself.

By RACHEL KIBUI

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