Rongo University has been identified as a centre of excellence for soil analysis. The Soil Analysis Facility was officially opened and commissioned by Amb. Simon Nabukwesi, CBS, Principal Secretary, State Department for University Education and Research. He emphasized the significance of the laboratory for promoting economic growth by enhancing agricultural productivity.
This facility is as a result of the collaboration between National Research Fund and Rongo University. The facility costed Ksh 33.6 million with the National Research Fund providing Ksh. 23.8 million toward the procurement of teaching laboratory equipment, while Rongo University contributed Ksh. 9.8 million in form of a laboratory facility and to purchase start-up chemicals. The project began on March 15, 2019 and was completed on April 30, 2021.
The need to boost agricultural yields by testing and identifying the nutrient content of soils in order to advise on the proper fertilizers or rates to apply, as well as the necessity to expand the number of educated soil scientists to tackle soil fertility-related constraints, prompted this initiative. Also, this project is in line with the national, regional and global development goals mainly focusing on ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition through promoting sustainable agriculture. This is because the soil is crucial for attaining these goals as it serves as a basis for global food production.
By operationalizing the laboratory, the University has supported the work of many scientists from the western region who could only access soil testing facilities in Eldoret and Nairobi and have substantially reduced their workload. The laboratory is already being utilized for both teaching and research. Besides, the University has leveraged the strength of the laboratory to secure several research grants totaling over Ksh. 50 million, become a center of excellence in agriculture and food security, train graduate students, and conduct soil analysis in nearby farmer fields, among other achievements.