Managing Soil Fertility for Sustainable Agricultural Production in Sub-Saharan Africa


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Soil Degradation,Factors that Contribute to Soil Fertility Depletion,Implementation of integrated soil fertility management (ISFM).Previous Research Experience in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Managing Soil Fertility for Sustainable Agricultural Production in Sub-Saharan Africa

  1. 1. Managing Soil Fertility for Sustainable Agricultural Production in Sub-Saharan Africa by Dr. Regine Mankolo
  2. 2. Presentation Outline <ul><li>Academic Background </li></ul><ul><li>Previous Research Experience in Sub-Saharan Africa </li></ul><ul><li>Current Research at Alabama A&M University, USA </li></ul><ul><li>My Vision for the position of Soil Fertility Specialist at IITA </li></ul>
  3. 3. M.S. Crop, Soil and Environmental Science. Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Blacksburg, VA. 1994. Thesis: “Nutrient Availability in Mineral Sand Tailings Soils Amended with Yard Waste and Wood Ash”. B.S. in Agronomy with emphasis on Weed Science, University of Dschang, Cameroon. 1984 Academic Background
  4. 4. Ph.D. Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Blacksburg, VA. 1997 Dissertation : “Effect of Poultry Litter-Yard Waste Compost Application on Phosphorus Availability in Diverse Soils”.
  5. 5. Previous Research Experience in Sub-Saharan Africa <ul><li>Research member of IARD farming systems research team under the USAID / IITA-NCRE funded project in Cameroon </li></ul><ul><li>The main objectives were to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>identify crop production constraints and provide scientists with tools to assist farmers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>test proposed technologies in farmers’ fields </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>- strengthen the linkages between research and extension </li></ul><ul><li>Research trials included: </li></ul><ul><li>- alley cropping systems </li></ul><ul><li>- fertilizer trials </li></ul><ul><li>- crop varieties </li></ul><ul><li>- intercropping systems </li></ul>
  7. 7. - a strong experience in Farming Systems Research Approach - a strong need to promote effective and systematic integration of biological and social sciences - an effective collaboration between scientists and farmers - a background with greater emphasis on flexibility in research and management The work led to the development of:
  8. 8. Current Research at Alabama A&M University <ul><li>My current research involves the development of best management package for small organic vegetable farmers in Southeastern United States </li></ul>Organic farming has emerged as an acceptable alternative method of crop production in the United States recently The objectives of our organic research projects are :
  9. 9. (2) To conduct on-farm trials and demonstrations of best management practices in select transitional or organic production sites involving small farmers in Alabama (1) To use soil health assessments such as chemical, biological and physical attributes as indicators to build soil fertility under organic management system
  10. 10. Other practices include: Mulch application (cotton gin compost, Sudan x sorghum hybrid + cowpea residues, spent mushroom compost) for weed control and soil moisture retention Among the many organic practices, cover crops are increasingly being considered as integral to sustainable organic production. Poultry litter application to enhance soil fertility
  11. 17. My Vision for the position of Soil Fertility Specialist at IITA
  12. 18. Background Food insecurity has become a major problem in SSA, where about 60% of the population is directly engaged in agriculture (FAO, 2001) Soil fertility is critical in maintaining agricultural growth, rural development and environmental conservation
  13. 19. - Soil nutrient depletion - Soil erosion - Deforestation According to FAO (2001) about 66% of farmland in Sub-Saharan Africa is stricken by severe soil degradation that include:
  14. 20. Scientists and decision makers strongly believe that soil degradation and depletion of fertility are perhaps the most important constraints to food and economic security in Sub-Saharan Africa
  15. 24. Factors that Contribute to Soil Fertility Depletion - High cost of inorganic fertilizer - Limited knowledge of integrated soil nutrient management - Policy factors - Decline of fallow period coupled with low fertilizer use - Limited use of organic inputs and nutrient recycling
  16. 25. LONG-TERM RESEARCH GOAL To contribute to food security and poverty alleviation in rural poor communities by enhancing and sustaining land use system Strengthen and improve the national soil management practices using multidisciplinary and participatory approach To achieve this goal
  17. 26. Accelerate transfer of appropriate technologies Apply new technologies to locate and survey degraded soils in the agro-ecological zones Collaborate with GIS scientists to update the most degraded regions along with fertilizer recommendation Conduct diagnosis and identify regions of interest
  18. 27. Implementation of integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) 1. Improving knowledge of ISFM a) Training extension personnel and small farmers using the farmer field school approach b) Organizing training workshop for regional researchers, NGO’s and extension managers
  19. 28. 2. Enhancing the application of ISFM a) Conduct farmer field plot demonstrations b) Encourage farmer and community participation 3. Accelerating the adoption ISFM a) Develop incentive-based scheme b) Encourage farmer-farmer interactions
  20. 29. 4. Making fertilizers accessible to small growers b) Use farmer organizations and cooperatives to lower fertilizer cost and while providing physical accessibility a) Create affordable access to fertilizers for poor farmers
  21. 30. Thank you
  22. 31. Organic input in return