Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Case Study: Soil Analysis for Smallholders

Date Published: 
February 1, 2013

Bringing low-cost soil testing and SMS-based fertilizer recommendations to smallholder farmers.

Soil analysis (and the resulting recommendations) can help farmers dramatically improve yields, cut costs, and improve soil fertility over the long-run. Despite its importance, however, soil analysis has not been accessible to smallholder farmers because of its high cost.

This case study outlines how USAID-KHCP partnered with Crop Nutrition Lab Services, a private lab service in Nairobi, to bring professional soil testing services to smallholder farmers in rural Kenya. It emphasizes the innovative cost-sharing model through the public private partnership, as well as the power of mobile phones to reduce transaction costs. To assist others replicate similar models, the study describes each major challenge that arose through the process, and how it has been addressed to date.