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Lack of Soil Equipment Frustrating Farmers in Acholi Sub Region :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Lack of Soil Equipment Frustrating Farmers in Acholi Sub Region

The soil sensor plays a vital role in modern agricultural and horticultural management and provides a regular assessment of major nutrient levels in the soil to make fertilizer recommendations and to ensure optimum growing conditions.
A soil testing machine. Photo by Emmy Daniel Ojara

Audio 4

The lack of soil testing equipment in Acholi Sub Region is frustrating farmers.  A soil testing machine also known as a soil sensor is used to determine the alkalinity and acidity of the soil, assess major soil nutrients levels and water contents.  



The soil sensor plays a vital role in modern agricultural and horticultural management and provides a regular assessment of major nutrient levels in the soil to make fertilizer recommendations and to ensure optimum growing conditions.        However, farmers in the Acholi Sub Region have raised concerns that the unavailability of the machines in their areas is affecting their efforts in determining their soil fertility, nutrient contents and what amount or type of fertilizers to apply on their respective farmlands and what types of seeds they should plant.      

The machine is currently available in Ngetta in Lango Sub Region and Soroti in the Eastern Region. However, they charge between 120,000 and 300,000 Shillings for each test minus transportation and expenses involved.  

Isaac Otim, a vegetable farmer in Lukodi, Gulu district says that the lack of the machine in the region has greatly affected his farm outputs since he has been applying fertilizers and planting crops without understanding the soil type, PH and nutrients. 

//Cue in: ‘’I normally farm…  

Cue out: …get better yields.’’//   

He appealed for the need to bring such services closer to people in the region saying that the demand is wanting to ensure better yields and good planting methods.  

Bosco Onek, a farmer in Nwoya says he plants any type of crop and applies any fertilizer without considering its effectiveness and viability due to the lack of a soil testing machine.   

Moses Oryem Akol, a 52-year-old large scale rice farmer in Nwoya who have been in the business for over 20 years is aware of the soil testing machine but says he is incapacitated to transport soil samples up to the Lango or Eastern Uganda for testing. 

//Cue in: ‘’the challenge here…  

Cue out: …our main problem.’’//   

Monica Aciro, a farmer in Gulu district says that she has been previously losing several crops due to the application of fertilizers in her garden without proof.  

She explained that she had over the years failed to test her soil due to the cost of travel and test charges in Lira and Soroti until she learnt of one machine at Agrithon Agro-vet supplies in Gulu City last month. 

//Cue in ‘’machine me ngeyo…   

Cue out: …ngo ma ipito.’’//  

Denis Okello, a farmer from Odek Sub County in Omoro district says that the cost of traveling to Gulu City for the soil tests is still exorbitant.  

He appealed to the government to consider placing such machines in the agricultural departments at every Acholi district so that it can be easily and cheaply accessed by farmers. 

//Cue in: ‘’dong atemo dong…   

Cue out: …pi kodi na’’//   

Richard Ssejjoba, an Agronomist at Agrithon Agro-Vet supplies in Gulu City explained that the failure by farmers to test their soils before planting crops has led to poor yields and wastage of money by farmers.   

He also attributed this to attacks of crops by disease and pests as well as stunted growth which he notes can be avoided.   

In some of the shops visited by URN reporter, dealing in agricultural machines in Omoro, Nwoya, Gulu City and Amuru but there was no soil testing equipment.