Asaasepa Soil Test KitFarmers "Do It Yourself" test kit
Agriculture is a major source of revenue to smallholder farmers in Ghana, which constitute more than 80% of the total farmers. The soil is the factory of the farmer and its productivity is directly related to the fertility of the soil.
Soil test is currently done with the traditional laboratories, where farmers have to take soil samples and traveled several miles to the cities before they can get access to a soil test laboratory. According to a research on the various price comparison from the various research soil test laboratories, a Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potash (K) which form the basis of fertilizer formulations cost between GHS1,500 to GHS2,000 per acre which is very expensive and most farmers cannot afford. Asaasepa soil test kit cost only GHS2o per kit and GHS100 per acre for 5 sampling.
Asaasepa “Do It Yourself” Soil Test Kit is considered by many farmers as a revolution, disruptive and a remedy to solve the most basic but pertinent problem in affecting their productivity. Soil Solutions seek to provide relevant, accurate, timely and basic soil fertility information for farmers and stakeholders to ensure that agricultural production decisions are based on objective and realistic criteria.
Soil Solutions uses basic chemistry formula by using reactive chemical reagents of the various nutrients (N,P,K ) and pH in the soil to determine their presence, lacking or deficient in the soil by developing a color change after a period of time, between 30min to an hour. This is visual and easy for the farmer to interpret and get recommendations and remedies using our asaasepa mobile application, USSD and IVR in their local languages.
The biggest challenge was the piloting of the Asaasepa Test Kit in the Northern Region, Volta Region and Greater Accra with partner agribusinesses as farmers were new to an affordable soil test kit and technology. Most farmers were not utilizing technology properly. Most farm in the Northern Region arr located in the remote villages and do not have access to basic amenities like electricity, standard of education is very low, internet connectivity is very poor and they use basic phones as compared to the other regions. This was holding farmers back; they knew they could improve on their productivity if they had access and technological know-how. The Asaasepa Test Kit addressed three critical issues for farmers.:
- How to test their soil to know the available nutrients:
The team focused their efforts on educating the farmers on the need for a soil test before, during and after planting and introduce them to the easy to use, affordable “Do It Yourself” test kit.
- How available soil nutrients affects productivity:
Educating farmers on soil nutrients and the various plant requirements for the nutrients in the soil. The possible remedies to take after a test. Example is liming of farms and the pH is low. Plants depend on the pH of the soil to be able to absorb nutrients.
- How farmers accept the kit, usability, interpretation and technology .
The solution Soil Solution came up with combined cutting edge technology with real world practicality. Farmers knew that the use of farm input like fertilizer and seed are not based on research facts, but used blanket application . Asaasepa Soil Test Kit provide a simple do it yourself approach for farmers to know their available soil nutrients and make an informed decisions on the type of fertilizer to purchase and seeds to plant.
Farmers are now more empowered; Farmers also has available tool to test their soil nutrient level. They can now make decisions on the fly based on the latest real time recommendations.
The effort vastly improved the farmers knowledge base, informed them on the suitable crop that will do well on their soil, reduced the over expenditure on purchasing of input, excess application of fertilizer which turn to contaminate the soil.