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Agricultural scientists making progress on Uganda's most comprehensive soil survey
The survey which began in 2014 by selecting soil samples across the country is expected to inform Ugandan farmers on the best soils for different crops.

Agricultural scientists are conducting a nationwide survey on Uganda’s soils that will help farmers and agriculturalists ascertain what soils are the best suited for different crops all over the country.

The survey, which is called the “ vital signs monitoring system”, began in 2014 and it is spearheaded by Africa Innovation Institute, a non-governmental organization with authorization from the National Council of Science and Technology and the ministry of agriculture.

By the end of the survey, the scientists hope to have a better understanding of what soils are there in different parts of the country. The findings of this research will be beneficial in helping farmers determine which crops can grow best in the different soils in the country.

For many farmers experiencing poor yields the problem could be related to planting inappropriate crops for the soil that is present in their fields. Despite Uganda's rich soils and abundance of arable land, farmers' yields continue to deteriorate as the farmers grow crops in soils that are not well suited for those crops.

The scientists conducting the research have identified over 400 vital points using a GPS map to collect soil samples across country.One of the challenges the scientists are facing is the limited capacity to analyze the soil samples they have been able to gather, which are being taken to a laboratory in Nairobi. 

The researchers also have to deal with suspicious members of the communities in which they are collecting samples. These communities tend to be wary of people they perceive to be land-grabbers and this has slowed down the research.

Once complete, Ugandan farmers will be able to know the outcome of the research and use the information to improve their farming methods.

The project was first piloted in Tanzania and later spread out to Ghana. Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia are expected to join in the near future.

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