May 26, 2021

Adoption of Foliars In Kenyan Market

Foliar fertilizer is a fertilizer product which is designed to be applied directly to the leaves of a plant. A number of companies manufacture a range of foliar fertilizers, from organic products safe for use on food crops to more aggressive chemical fertilizers for ornamentals.

Adoption of Foliars In Kenyan Market
Adoption of Foliars In Kenyan Market

There is an emerging trend in town. Farmers are now applying foliar fertilisers on crops more than was done a decade ago. This has been necessitated by climate change that has caused unpredictable weather patterns with some areas receiving more or reduced rains than before.

Excessive rains or lack of it complicates the application of dry fertilisers to crops. Too much rainfall leads to fertiliser leaching or surface run off that washes away fertilisers.

On the other hand, with reduced rains or prolonged droughts, farmers are unable to use dry or ground applied fertilisers since they need moisture to dissolve and be taken up by plants.

Another trend being observed countrywide, through soil testing, is reduced soil fertility. This brings with it issues of nutrient deficiencies in the soil. This is because for many years, farmers have not focused on balanced fertilisation to crops.


As such, they often use traditional fertilisers with one or two nutrients and the rest is expected to come from the soil.  Over time, the nutrients in the soil get depleted and this is reflected in crops as nutrient deficiency symptoms like yellowing, purplish leaves, poor flowering, poor fruit set and ultimately reduced yields.

But it is important to point out that foliar application is not a substitute of dry applied fertilisers but a complement for optimal crop yields. Yara East Africa having identified the gap to achieving high yields, has introduced foliar fertilisers under the brand  YaraVita Crop Boost to complement its balanced and crop specific fertilizers.

YaraVita products are not simply nutrients. They are finished products designed from the start with crop nutrition in mind. When you choose YaraVita, you can be sure that what you apply will be easy and convenient to use and effective and safe for the crop.

All YaraVita products are based on raw materials with low impurities. They are manufactured to very high, often food and even pharmaceutical grade standards. Products contain co-formulants, such as wetters, stickers and absorption aids, to control and enhance the performance of the nutrient raw materials.

Daniel Biwott, a seed maize farm manager at Makongi Farm, adopted YaraVita Crop Boost and recorded remarkable results. He says, “Last year I partnered with Yara East Africa Ltd and we applied YaraVita Crop Boost on one section of my farm and left another section without.

I managed to harvest 1,900kg of seed maize per acre on the section we applied YaraVita Crop Boost as compared to 1,400kg per acre on the section that we did not apply. Furthermore, I applied YaraVita Crop Boost on a section that I had replanted after rains failed and the section still produced more without additional fertilisers than the other sections that had been planted earlier.”

 Foliar application best practices:

  • Product sourcing: Sourcing of top quality foliars (not necessarily the cheapest) is key to achieving optimal crop yields. Good quality foliars require 1-2 applications per season while poor quality ones require several applications over the crop season. This exposes the often ‘hidden added costs’ of additional applications, reduced crop response and more expensive in the long run. As a farmer, always buy foliars from reputable companies with long history of fertiliser manufacture to benefit from technology, research and quality raw materials).
  • Tank Mix: It is good practice to carry out product compatibility tests when mixing foliars with other commonly used pesticides on a small-scale before embarking on broad acreage applications, better still use Yara TankMix App for quick solutions available on google play store).
  • Application timing: Follow manufacturer recommendations, and especially on crop type, stage of crop and rates to be applied is critical to get the best outcome.
  • Calibration: It is always good to do spray water volume and equipment calibration for best results.

With about 60 percent of our arable soils being acidic, phosphorous and micro nutrients availability is limited, hence need for high phosphorous foliar more than ever before to realise better crop start and better yields.