Cameroon farmer Rostand Simeu, 26, last year spent all his savings to start a plantain and banana plantation.
But, like all new farmers, he has struggled with efficient production.
Simeu said the bananas have been growing for 13 months. He said this raises a lot of questions.
Simeu heard about a Cameroonian company that helps farmers in remote areas to analyze their soil quality and to help choose crops.
Technology startup Clinic Agro created a kit with a mobile application called Clinic Sol for instant soil testing.
Founder Pyrrus Koudjou said he invented the kit to help farmers who were losing money.
He said it is very important today for the farmer to be able to analyze his soil. Why, asks Koudjou? Because knowing his soil means being able to secure his investment, reduce the use of pesticides and input costs, and improving productivity and agricultural profitability.
Most Cameroonians work in farming as agriculture is one of the main staples of the economy, but experts said many farmers are not trained to analyze soil for efficiency.
Agronomist Rodrigue Ngono trains farmers at the state’s Binguela Practical School of Agriculture.
He said soil analysis is key to getting better results and leads people toward “precision farming.” It is about determining the exact amount of nutrients that a plant will need, said Ngono, in order for it to be produced [most] profitably.
For farmer Simeu, the Clinic Sol analysis shows his soil quality is poor and very acidic.
The app recommends he switch to planting cucumbers, lettuce, eggplant, pineapple, or cassava.
After the results, farmer Simeu said he does not intend to stop farming, especially since he now has a partner with Clinic Agro, which is supporting him. He said he will move to new land, test new samples of soil, and then move on to crops other than plantains.
Clinic Agro said in just one year, since its creation, its mobile kit has tested soil quality for nearly one thousand farms in Cameroon.