Hydroponic nutrient solutions being tested on spinach at the School of Agriculture lab farm

KU Researchers explore locally produced foliar fertilizers, hydroponic nutrients solutions and rooting powders

Kenya relies on imported foliar fertilizers, rooting powders and hydroponic nutrient solutions that are expensive, courtesy of the Vice Chancellor Research Grant Dr. Wilson Thagana of the Department of Agricultural Science and Technology together with Dr. Isaac Mwangi and Dr. Kibe Macharia both of the Department of Chemistry undertook a research project aimed at developing locally customized foliar fertilizer also known as boosters, hydroponic nutrient solutions and rooting powders for sustainable agriculture. Customized foliar fertilizers were tested on maize fields in Tala, Kangundo and Gatundu, also boosters were tested on variety of other crops including potato, amaranths, spinach, kales, pawpaw and coriander while Hydroponic nutrient solutions were tested on cabbages, coriander, spinach and barley. Rooting powders were tested by two international companies on rooted cuttings of various flowers independently. All crops tested benefited from application of the boosters and hydroponic nutrient solution, no ill effect were observed. Feedback obtained from farmers and the companies involved in sampling the products was favorable indicating that the customized rooting powder compared favorably with imported rooting powders in the Kenyan Market. The project team is keen on scaling up the products which will not only avail affordable products that will ease the cost of farming but also create employment along the value chain and contribute to industrialization.

Coriander-and-chillis

Coriander and chillis thriving at a kitchen garden in tala after the booster have been used.

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