Success story: Douglas Muthomi Kungania
Douglas is a 35-year-old tree crop farmer in Meru County. His farm is the main source of income for his family. The job of farmer was passed on to him from his father. Since 2000 Douglas has been producing coffee for the Kathera Cooperative. He grows also bananas, mainly for own consumption.
Understanding the importance of soil testing
Before soil testing, Douglas had been applying CAN and 17-17-17 as a manner of tradition, but he had always been wondering what amount of fertilizer was really necessary to apply. Now he realizes that he didn’t know what soil fertility really meant. Only after explanation by the manager of the coffee factory, he understood why soil testing was important.
In the season after the soil testing, Douglas has applied only two bags of fertilizer instead of seven. Even though, the coffee plants look healthier. The colour of the leaves has changed and production has increased from 70 to 100 kg.
Reduced costs and increased income
From the reduced costs and increased income, Douglas has been able to pay the school fees of his children. Douglas is now happy with his farm, he feels that his work is now more rewarded. This motivates him to take care of his crops better. In this way, Douglas aims to increase his production of three kg per coffee bush even further to five kg.
One challenge that still remains, is the quantity in which fertilizers come. One bag of 20 kg can be even too much for the size of his farm.