Bogus soil testing companies on the prowl


THE Lands and Agriculture ministry has warned farmers to be wary of unscrupulous soil testing companies on the market ahead of the rainy season.

Speaking during a campaign on soil testing in Goromonzi, Lands and Agriculture ministry head of the Chemistry and Research Institute Emmanuel Chikwari said fake soil testing companies were on the prowl.

“Most companies that advertise one day soil testing are fake because it needs about 14 days or more depending on the number of farmers who submitted their soils for testing,” Chikwari said, adding that the companies were taking advantage of lack of laws that regulate their operations.

“Some agro inputs are governed by law, but there is no Act that governs soil testing. That's our weakness which we should look into, and come up with an Act of Parliament that regulates all these activities because at the end we are destroying these soils.

“In the next 20 years the soils will be more damaged than before. It’s a weakness that has been there that needs to be rectified,” he said.

He said farmers in Manicaland province were robbed by the bogus companies that he said used tap water to test soils.

Agritex agriculture training specialist Jaidi Izah said it was unfortunate that some farmers were not utilising the expertise of agricultural extension officers.

“Farmers are also to blame because they don’t have trust in our local agricultural extension officers. We have reliable services around, but they do not make use of them,” Izah said.

Reports of fake seeds and fertiliser being sold to unsuspecting farmers have also surfaced as the country heads into the summer cropping season.

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