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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Soil Fertility Status, Management, and Research in East Africa
Authors:Bekunda, M.A.
Ebanyat, P.
Nkonya, E.
Mugendi, D.
Msaky, J.J.
Periodical:Eastern Africa Journal of Rural Development
Geographic terms:Uganda
Subjects:agricultural research
small farms
soil fertility
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
Abstract:This study reviews and synthesizes soil fertility status, management among smallholder farmers and research in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. It observes that many studies note declining soil fertility, mainly due to soil fertility mining, putting crop production on an unsustainable path. Studies have shown that the current soil fertility management practices of recycling crop residue, biomass transfer, short fallow, and other organic practices are inadequate to replenish the nutrient outflow. Consequently, crop yield declines in the region. Soil fertility research in East Africa has concentrated on producing recommendations for monocrop systems while most smallholder farmers plant crops in complex intercropping and mixed cropping systems. Moreover, even though agricultural prices and soil characteristics are dynamic, recommendations are always based on static input-output price ratio and soil conditions. This research approach renders many recommendations irrelevant to smallholder farmers. Consequently, adoption of soil fertility technologies in the region is low, even though many farmers appreciate the benefits of these technologies. There obviously is a need to revise the current soil fertility recommendations in such a way that they take into account the dynamic nature of soils and agricultural prices. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract, edited]