SUSTAINABLE SOIL MANAGEMENT
Task 2.2.2 aims to improve the sustainability and productivity of local agricultural systems through sustainable soil management practices tested in pilot demonstration trials within the study areas. To trace a general characterization of the farming systems in the project study and a general overview of the current level of adoption of sustainable soil management practices, two common survey tools called "General characterization of the farm" and "ST2.2.2 – Sustainable management" were designed. The main topics covered by the surveys included: general characterization of the farm and sustainable management.
Three main research areas:
Integrated soil fertility management strategies were studied under different technological packages in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya through the use of composts, biochar and techniques such as the dynamic kraaling. Among others: fertilization on sorghum and maize yield in cotton-cereals based farming systems (Burkina Faso), physical protection of soil by means of earth/stone bands on maize yield (Ghana), evaluation of short- term fallow of annual legumes on cereal productivity and soil fertility of degraded crop lands (Ethiopia), effect of Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) on Crop Yields (Tanzania), evaluation of the effect of rotating maize, finger millet and sorghum with groundnut on crop yield and soil fertility status (Kenya).
Intercropping techniques were investigated in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Ghana. The use of nitrogen-fixing legumes has been tested in crop rotation or intercropping, as natural soil fertility improving technologies that significantly contribute soil N and improve soil quality. For each intercropping solutions, the consortium has been assessing i) the performance of associated crops under intercropping; ii) the biological efficiency and economic feasibility of the intercropping system; iii) the role of legume inclusion in cereal fields on productivity, pest infestation and soil fertility maintenance. In Burkina Faso, trials were conducted on the effects of compost and intercropping on soil properties, sorghum and cowpea productivity with the objective of assessing the efficiency of intercropping combined with manure applications on soil parameters and, sorghum and cowpea yields. In Ethiopia, the determination of spatial arrangement of lima bean in a maize-lima bean intercropping system and the impact of rhizobia inoculation, phosphorus fertilization and vermicompost application on the productivity of haricot bean were experimented. In Ghana, trails were conducted on Fonio/legume intercropping system for soil fertility maintenance and cassava and cowpea intercropping for improved land productivity and sustainable crop production.
Conservation agriculture techniques such as tie-ridging, mulching, cover-cropping, zero tillage or minimum tillage are being tested to restore and enhance the physical, biological and chemical properties of soils that determine soil function and the delivery of ecosystem goods and services such as food production, water storage and carbon sequestration (to mitigate climate change and extreme weather events). In particular, our partners in Burkina Faso have been testing conservation tillage techniques to assess the effects of minimum tillage and recycling crops residues through compost on soil nutrients budget and crop productivity in cotton-cereals based cropping systems along with testing the effects of self-product organic fertilizer on fonio performance. The trials were conducted using a participatory approach. The parameters measured for the evaluation of the effects of the technological packages were economic, environmental and concerning productivity.
1. Integrated soil fertility management
3. Conservation agriculture
Country Partner Research Technology Crop
Burkina Faso UNB, INERA Soil Fertility Management Sorghum, Maize, Cotton
Conservation Agriculture Techniques Cotton, Maize, Sorghum, Fonio
Ghana CSIS-SARI, KDC Soil Fertility Management Maize, Sorghum, Millet
Intercropping Fonio, Soybean, Groundnut, Cowpea
Tanzania NM-AIST, TARI, ICRAF Soil Fertility Management Common Bean
Kenya Kalro, UoN Soil Fertility Management Finger Millet, Sorghum, Maize, Groundnut
Ethiopia JU, HU Soil Fertility Management Teff, Legume, Fallow Crops
Intercropping Maize, Haricot Bean, Maize, Lima Bean