Bungoma County launches its three Lab-in-a-boxes

News out of Africa

Bungoma County Council has launched the three Lab-in-a-boxes it has bought from SoilCares in a ceremony held in Bungoma today. The event, which was attended by the Governor of Bungoma, as well as many other high profile guests was seen to be a great success and the start of a fruitful partnership. Anja Weber, Country Representative for Kenya, spoke to the crowd about the importance of soil testing and how she hoped other counties in Kenya would follow Bungoma's good example. Her opening speech can be found below.

Your excellency the governor of Bungoma County, your excellencies the governors, waheshimiwa senators, mps, members of county assembly, wapendwa wakulima, mabibi na mabwana. All protocol observed.

This is the second time for me to give a speech in Bungoma. The last time was in 2012 when I was invited to speak at the Bungoma fair organized by CGA. I don't remember if I sad anything remarkable back then, but i remember also addressing the wapendwa wakulima.

Back then our company was still called BLGG and we had just started offering our services in Kenya. We didn't have a stand at the fair, I was just handing out fliers to farmers about our services. Humble beginnings and we have come a long way since.

Our company has changed its name to SoilCares because that is what we do - we offer farmers the information and knowledge they need to take care of their soils! We are experts in developing new technologies that provide farmers with easy, fast and accessible ways to acquire information and knowledge.

Today we are here to celebrate the launch of three of our mobile laboratories which have been purchased and will be run by Bungoma County to provide the farmers of the Western Region with this kind of crucial information and knowledge.

We have come a long way, but one thing has not changed: 

Tunafanya hiyo kazi kwa vile tunawapenda nyinyi wakulima!

They say knowledge is power. How better to empower farmers than by giving them the knowledge that enables to make informed decisions, to take care of their soil so that their soil can take care of them? To enable them to increase their yields while also increasing their soils' fertility long term. We want to see farmers succeed not suffer, we want to see this country and this whole continent grow! This can be done with superior technology made available to large- and smallholder farmers.

We are also here to celebrate our partnership with Bungoma County. We are not simply a supplier, our relationship doesn't end today. We are committed to walk alongside our clients. We provide full time back up, quality assurance, trainings, social media support, and we also help to raise awareness about the importance of soil fertility through our presence e.g on The shamba shape up program. We rely on Bungoma County to use its own network to reach farmers in their region, but we support them through our nationwide marketing activities.

I am also here to say "hongera" to Bungoma County. To a visionary governor, a visionary ministry of agriculture. You are the first county to launch its own mobile laboratories. Others are already following, but you are the early adapters. This technology will enable you to easily transfer knowledge to farmers, to develop optimum fertilizer blends for your county, to develop soil maps for your county on a regular basis. Not only your farmers will have access to crucial information and knowledge, but also you, as the county government, the ministry of agriculture, you the extension workers. You will be able to make informed decisions. Your extension teams will be able to provide relevant advice to farmers, your procurement office will be able to purchase the exact fertilizers that are needed for your county. You will be investing your money effectively and efficiently. You are ahead of everybody else. Hongera!

This first step of partnering with the private sector might encourage you to take further steps in this direction. This country can go far, if the private and the public sector come together for the good of the people. We will also not stop here. We are already developing further technologies, e.g. To analyze animal feeds, to provide handheld soil scanners, and we started reaching out into other African countries like Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, etc. We wish to continue working closely with county governments and the NGO sector, to support the extension services in this country.

I have only been given 2 minutes to speak and I fear I have already stretched those two minutes a bit. But if you have any questions and would like to engage in a conversation with us, today we are here with one of our own mobile laboratories, not just fliers. You can find us there at our tent. You are welcome to see us there! Tuzungumze!

Asante sana!

By Anja Weber, Kenyan country manager.

More about the Lab-in-a-box here.

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