July 30, 2020
Farmers are encouraged to take advantage of the soil sampling and testing services provided by the Ministry of Agriculture.
The Ministry provides soil sampling services to farmers, private companies, and other interested individuals. Services provided by the Ministry to farmers is free of charge, provided it comes through the agriculture locality officers. However, charges apply to private companies as well as farmers who directly bring the samples to the Ministry’s Fiji Agricultural Chemistry Laboratory at the Koronivia Research Station.
Soil testing is an easy and cost-effective way to manage soil for crop or pasture production. It determines the key nutrients and pH levels so that the farmer can make the best choice when purchasing fertilizers and other nutrients.
The laboratory offers a wide range of analytical services for soils from simple tests that affect plant growth such as pH and moisture to soil fertility measurements such as carbon, nitrogen available phosphorus, and potassium to more detailed testing for trace elements.
The Ministry provides its analysis of the soil samples within two to three weeks. A report is prepared and recommendations are given on how to improve the fertility of the soil.
It is important to conduct soil sampling when first clearing a piece of land for farming and at least two to four weeks before planting or fertilizing the crop for established farms.
The symptoms of pests, diseases, and nutrient deficiency overlap and it becomes difficult to identify the main cause. However, the soil test results confirm the cause of the symptoms and make it easy for the farmers to apply the necessary remedial measures.
The agriculture locality officers are trained to conduct proper soil sampling to ensure the uniformity and true representation of the soil that is sampled.
The Fiji Agricultural Chemistry Laboratory also conducts livestock feed, water, fertilizer, compost, manure, food, and plant testing.
Farmers who are interested in getting soil sampling done can contact the Ministry’s locality officers or the Fiji Agricultural Chemistry Laboratory on 3477044.