Initiated at Partnering for Innovation™ first AgInvestor Lab on May 2013, Kenya-based Crop Nutrition Laboratory (CropNuts) and Columbia University's The Earth Institute are uniting to provide low-cost mobile soil testing services for smallholder farmers in Kenya. This collaboration will test a new technology, SoilDoc, which Columbia University and the University of Maryland jointly created. SoilDoc assesses soil fertility and allows for on-the-spot soil management recommendations. The soil fertility results and recommendations feed into a website using Android software and a smart phone, allowing for real-time calculations, and recommendations.
CropNuts has been operating in Kenya for more than 15 years; however, until now, they have used the conventional method of sending samples to a laboratory. Columbia University and CropNuts decided to collaborate in a SoilDoc Commercial Pilot to test the technology, its field performance, and gather market feedback to analyze and understand the variables and possibilities to introduce this new product to the soil-testing market. CropNuts will provide on the ground expertise and infrastructure, including extension workers, and SoilDoc will provide its Internet and cell phone technology.