As the new series of Kenya’s popular agricultural TV show “Shamba Shape Up” gets well under way, MEA has been featured on many of the episodes teaching farmers about the importance of soil testing as a guide to application of fertilizers best suited to their existing soil and crop conditions.

This show is aired every weekend in both Swahili and English languages to over 10 million viewers. “Shamba shape up” team has been travelling all over Kenya and has recently ventured into Uganda where it has met farmers whose shambas (Swahili for ‘farm’), need to be “shaped up”.

Many farmers in Kenya are experiencing problems with their soils due to poor soil fertility maintenance and erratic rainfall among others which contribute to poor crop yields. The team which includes MEA fertilizers’ specialist Jobkevin, met Rebecca who is a farmer in Bungoma to discuss why her beans were not doing so well as expected. According to Rebecca, her beans were showing yellowish coloration on the leaves and were stunted. Jobkevin recognized these symptoms as lack of nitrogen and probably other essential nutrients. Nitrogen is vital to plants as it helps them grow stronger and healthy. Although Rebecca had used a MEA fertilizer in her shamba, Jobkevin advised her to use a more soil/crop specific type. Jobkevin suggested the use of both Biofix (Rhizobium Inoculant) and Sympal (NPK 0:23:15+10CaO+4S+1MgO) fertilizers which are suited to soils lacking in nitrogen and other nutrients. Biofix works by increasing the number of nodules on the roots, enhancing nitrogen fixation from the air and thereby increasing the supply of nitrogen to the crop.

These types of problems described above are not only found in Kenya but also in other parts of the world particularly where there is insufficient rhizobia in the soils and other essential nutrients for the plants.

A soil test costs very little and will guide you in the purchasing of “correct” fertilizers for the given crops and crop conditions. Knowing the correct fertilization regime will give you good returns on investment and no doubt will “shape up” your shamba.

Ms Irene, a farmer in Uganda grows sunflower crop. Before testing her soils, Irene was getting only 4x90Kg bags from her field. However, after Shamba Shape Up, with the help of MEA, who tested Irene’s soil, production shot up to over 15x90Kg bags. Irene has become an example of how farmers can realize fortunes by understanding their soils and which would mark the beginning of better things to come.

To learn more about MEA’s involvement with Shamba Shape Up, or to learn more about any of the issues on the show, please SMS your name, address and MEA FERTILIZERS, SOIL TEST to: 30606 and we will send you free advisory leaflets by post (Kenya only). If you are outside Kenya, please check the Shamba Shape Up website where all episodes and leaflets can be viewed.