Zingore - 4R Nutrient Stewardship in the context of smallholder agriculture in Africa


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Presentation delivered at the CIALCA international conference 'Challenges and Opportunities to the agricultural intensification of the humid highland systems of sub-Saharan Africa'. Kigali, Rwanda, October 24-27 2011.

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  • IPNI is a science-based organization that represents the global fertilizer industry. IPNI has a global program that focuses on adaptive research to support sustainable management of plant nutrition for the benefit of the human family. My talk will give an overview of the 4R Nutrint Stewardship - A concept developed by the fertilizer industry as a basis for describing and communicating the basic and fundamental principles for responsible management of plant nutrients
  • Flag some examples
  • - The challenges of food insecurity have been well articulated by key note address and earlier speakers. - Intricately related to low nutrient use – both organic and inorganic.
  • The ISFM framework provide a pragmatic concept for improving crop productivity – recognizing fertilizer as a key input – indispensible in nutrient depleted soils. Provides for efficient use of appropriate germplasm, targeted management of fields varying in soil fertility and adapting. Fertilizer use highly sensitive, needs to be managed in the best way possible – fertilizer BMPs
  • The fertilizer industry conscious about the need to manage fertilizer resources sustainably. The need greatest in Africa…productivity and economics. The 4Rs represent fertilizer BMPs – by applying in a holistic manner amplifies the benefits of investment in nutrients. The scientific principles of managing crop nutrients are universal. They underscore the processes relating the use of nutrients to their impact on crops and soils and to their fate. They give an excellent framework to ensure that none of the known principles of nutrient management are ignored in the development of recommendations. Other agronomic management practices are recognized, such as planting density and timely weeding.
  • The challenges and some of the issues peculiar to SSA
  • Representation of livestock mediated nutrient cycling and implications on soil fertility heterogeneity. Highly variable soil fertility conditions with a major implication on source and rate. Major challenge to deal with the degraded fields….
  • Profound effects of fertilizer source…30% increase in yields with balanced fertilizer Attention to site-crop specific nutrient management a priority…major implication to fertilizer industry…making available the right product.
  • Fertilize use rates highly variable! Whilst avareage for SSA is less than 13 kg, this averaging obscures highly intensive systems where farmers using high rates already - Ignore the challenges of more intensive system…
  • Efficiency highest in the responsive fields
  • The impacts of fertilizer management are expressed in the performance of the cropping system. Performance includes the increase in yield, quality, and profit resulting from a fertilizer application Performance also extends to long-term effects on soil fertility levels and on losses of nutrients to water and air. It also includes impacts on the regional economy and social conditions—for example, affordable food. Stakeholders need to agree that they reflect their aspirations for performance, and that the indicators correlate well to actual measurements. For example, where soil erosion is a major issue and a large source of nutrient loss, an indicator measuring crop residues covering the soil at critical times may be suitable. When viewed in a wide and integrated way, 4R Nutrient Stewardship can have potentially far-reaching effects on the sustainability of agricultural systems that extend beyond the immediate benefits in terms of crop nutrition. Stakeholders need to select the performance measures and indicators that relate to the issues of greatest concern. The indicators shown in this diagram form a partial list. It is important to recognize that none of these is affected by fertilizer management alone. All can be improved by applying 4R nutrient stewardship, but they also depend on sound management of all practices applied to the cropping system. Crop managers or crop advisers cannot select the most important performance indicator on their own. Stakeholder input is required to select performance indicators representing progress on the goals considered important by all. In 4R Nutrient Stewardship, individuals working on the parts remain cognizant of the whole. Scientists working on optimum rates pay attention to source, timing and placement as well, and make sure the performance is assessed comprehensively. Stakeholders with specific interests in a certain outcome – for example, practices to improve water quality – are informed of the linkages of such practices to other aspects of performance. The integrated effect on the system performance as a whole needs to be the main guiding criterion.
  • Zingore - 4R Nutrient Stewardship in the context of smallholder agriculture in Africa

    1. 1. Shamie Zingore IPNI Africa Program, Nairobi, Kenya Adrian Johnston IPNI Asia & Africa, Saskatoon, Canada CIALCA International Conference, Kigali, Rwanda, 24/10/2011 In the context of smallholder farming systems in Africa
    2. 2. Outline <ul><ul><li>The 4R Nutrient Stewardship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The 4R Nutrient Stewardship in the context of smallholder systems in SSA </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nutrient Expert DSST for integrated application of 4Rs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Holistic assessment of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. The food security challenge
    4. 4. Fertilizer use an important factor Vanlauwe et al. 2010
    5. 5. The four ‘Rights’ of nutrient management The focus is to match nutrient supply with crop requirements and to minimize nutrient losses from fields
    6. 6. The context of smallholder farming systems <ul><ul><li>‘ Low’ input use </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Highly variable soil fertility conditions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mixed cropping systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Predominantly rain-fed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>agriculture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Socio-economic constraints </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. The context of smallholder farming systems Livestock Fodder Manure FZ2 Poorer farmers’ cropland Wealthier farmers’ cropland Communal grazing land FZ4 (25 ha) FZ4 86 ha 400 ha Village land (600 ha) Wet and dry season grazing Grazing of crop residues 5 t ha -1 3 t ha -1 FZ2 (43 ha) FZ2 (46 ha)
    8. 8. <ul><li>Supply in plant available forms </li></ul><ul><li>2. Suit soil properties </li></ul><ul><li>3. Recognize synergisms among elements </li></ul><ul><li>4. Handling by famers </li></ul>Right Source Maize response to nutrient application, southern Malawi
    9. 9. Right Rate Fertilizer use intensity (kg/ha) Tegemeo Institute, 2009 Fertilizer use intensity (kg/ha) on maize Coastal lowlands 14 Eastern lowlands 32 High potential maize zone 116 Central highlands 112 <5 25 - 50 5 -10 10 - 15 15 - 25 ND
    10. 10. Right Rate <ul><li>Appropriately assess soil nutrient supply </li></ul><ul><li>2. Assess all available indigenous nutrient sources </li></ul><ul><li>3. Assess plant demand </li></ul><ul><li>4. Predict fertilizer use efficiency </li></ul>Field type 1 Field type 2 Field type 3
    11. 11. Right Place <ul><li>Recognize root-soil dynamics </li></ul><ul><li>Manage spatial variability </li></ul><ul><li>Fit needs of tillage system </li></ul>Photo – A. Bationo
    12. 12. <ul><li>Assess timing of crop uptake </li></ul><ul><li>2. Assess dynamics of soil nutrient supply </li></ul><ul><li>3. Recognize timing of weather factors </li></ul><ul><li>4. Evaluate logistics of operations </li></ul>Right Time NPK
    13. 13. Nutrient Expert – A DSST for applying the 4Rs Determine indigenous nutrient supply Determine NPK (X) requirements to achieve attainable yields Determine nutrient requirement for target yield – economics, farmers’ resources Minimize depletion of soil nutrients <ul><li>Based on the principles of site-specific nutrient management </li></ul><ul><li>Assists extension agents to formulate quickly location-specific fertilizer guidelines </li></ul>
    14. 14. Nutrient Expert
    15. 15. Bridging the gap between science and practice
    16. 16. Field diagnosis tools
    17. 17. Productivity Profitability System durability Healthy environment Cropping System Objectives Net profit Resource Energy use Labor effic- Nutrient iencies: Water Adoption Return on investment Yield stability Soil productivity Water & air quality Farm income Working conditions Nutrient balance Nutrient loss Yield Quality Soil erosion Biodiversity Ecosystem services 4R Nutrient Stewardship - Outcomes and indicators
    18. 18. Concluding remarks <ul><ul><li>4R Nutrient Stewardship emphasizes sustainability with a simple message – Right source, rate, time & place. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides a basis for sustainable crop production intensification – with universal relevance. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides a means to communicate how nutrient management at the farm-scale contributes to sustainability. </li></ul></ul>
    19. 19. Thank you http://www.ipni.net/4r