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Soil Fertility Management by Smallholder Farmers and the Impact on Soil Chemical Properties in Sironko District, Uganda

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Forestry, Biodiversity and Tourism, Makerere University, Kampala, UGANDA
  • 2Department of Environmental Management, Makerere University, Kampala, UGANDA

Res. J. Agriculture & Forestry Sci., Volume 2, Issue (1), Pages 1-6, January,8 (2014)

Abstract

Low crop production on small holder farms in the Mount Elgon region, Uganda is related to a decline in soil fertility. A study was carried out to; determine the major causes of soil fertility decline in Sironko district, quantify crop yields under different soil fertility management practices and to assess the impact of these practices on soil chemical properties. Data were collected from three randomly selected parishes; Bulwala, Bumasobo and Bumasifwa using questionnaire and field observations. Soil samples were taken from the plots, mixed and composite samples were obtained for routine laboratory analysis. Over 95% of the farmers reported a decline in soil fertility, which was caused by soil erosion due to the hilly terrain and poor farming practices. The perceived indicators of soil fertility loss were reduced crop yield, poor crop performance or stunting and yellowing of the crop. As a result of poor soil fertility, yields were low 29-54 bunches acre-1for bananas, 235-348 kg acre-1 for beans, 169-329 kg acre-1 for coffee and 151-922kg acre-1 for maize. In an effort to improve soil fertility smallholder farmers used manures, some mineral fertilizers and other organic nutrient sources, but the quantities used were small and had no significant impact on the soil chemical properties. External assistance is needed to emphasize the importance of the soil conservation measures and the need to improve soil fertility using available and external inputs in order ensure food security and increase household incomes.

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