Fadhili Africa is a company based in Kenya, Thika – a town outside the capital city. The company began working with AgroCares in 2017 as a service provider while they were offering consultancy services to several groups of farmers in rural Kenya. Fadhili’s core business is based on the believe that successful farming practices start with the analysis of soil properties.
With Kenya’s big rural communities that are often located in remote areas, Fadhili is addressing several challenges of those farming communities. By removing the lack of access to soil testing services and with that associated infrastructure hurdles, he offers more affordable and fast soil testing alternatives. During their consultancy visits Fadhili does not only take soil samples, but also provides information on crop management, pest and disease monitoring and irrigation. Enabling farmers to get a full assessment of their farming practices and recommendations on how to overcome some of the challenges that are being faced during the cropping season.
With the AgroCares Scanner, Fadhili’s mission is to enable his clients to understand their soils, improve efficiency of their farm management practices and secure livelihoods through increasing yields and optimizing inputs.
Fadhili’s stands for sustainable farming solutions as this is a crucial part of modern agriculture while using cutting edge farming methods.
The results speak for themselves
The General Manager of Fadhili Africa, Bernard Ndungu explains that the farmers were hesitant to adopt the technology at the beginning, but they succeeded to expand their territory when they could demonstrate the benefits of soil testing with AgroCares Scanner: “Initially, the uptake of the service was low. Fadhili Africa had to work on improving the service and finding ways to reach out to more farmers. The company now has 12 full-time employees and many more working on part-time or commission-based arrangements. We are also working closely with counties, cooperatives, and other common interest groups to reach out to more farmers across the country. We have managed to develop strong relationships with cooperatives, especially in the coffee sector.”
“Soil analysis is not a norm for us. It is relatively new in this part of the world, and most people have not tested their soil. The government used to do the sampling, analyze the soil, and give blanket recommendations. As Fadhili Africa, we’ve been working with different organizations, both private and development partners, to sensitize farmers about the importance of soil testing. Although it has not been an easy to shift for farmers to get their soils tested, or convince them to use dry chemistry instead of wet chemistry, we have started to see a change as the impact of the service becomes more apparent. The results speak for themselves.”
We decided to go further
Bernard Ndungu: “Throughout the journey, there have been difficulties. Acceptance was a challenge, but also sensitization and bringing people together were challenges. Trust, logistics and money were challenges. And these challenges have taught us that, doing only a soil test and giving farmers the results is not enough. That is what everybody else have been doing, including the government. We decided to go further. We meet the farmers through producer organizations or cooperatives and then we go through the sensitization process which helps us lower our costs. After working with them in a group, then we only do the analysis for those who register and explain what the results mean. This way we can build relationships with them and with the cooperatives and the producer organizations. We can provide them with support beyond analysis.”
Our part to support Kenyan agriculture
Although Fadhili Africa's primary focus have been soil testing, the company is also planning to expand into the feed analysis in the future as they believe that there is an opportunity to grow in that area. The company is also getting support from the World Bank and various other organizations to promote their services, extent the use of technology and develop new projects in different counties.
Bernard Ndungu: “One of our key missions is that we want to enable our counties to be fully sufficient and we want to build our capability in Kenya that is able to analyze 1 million samples every year. We are also looking to improve ourselves in the next three years. This year, our aim is to do about 40,000 samples, next year we're planning to do about 90,000 samples, and 150,000 samples in the coming year. This means we are going to have a lot of collaborations with the crews we work together, with the producer organizations, and also with the cooperatives. On the other side, we are planning to invest in our own AgroCares Scanners to be able to offer the services in the market for other people who want to use the technology. These are some of the things that we look forward for the foreseeable future and have been equipping ourselves to be able to deliver our part to support Kenyan agriculture.”