Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 347512
Title Soil fertility evaluation and management by smallholder farmer communities in northern Tanzania
Author(s) Mowo, J.G.; Janssen, B.H.; Oenema, O.; German, L.A.; Mrema, J.P.; Shemdoe, R.S.
Source Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 116 (2006)1-2. - ISSN 0167-8809 - p. 47 - 59.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2006.03.021
Department(s) Sub-department of Soil Quality
Soil Science Centre
PE&RC
ALTERRA Wageningen UR
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2006
Keyword(s) systems - africa - quefts
Abstract The objective of this paper is to compare soil fertility evaluation based on experience and knowledge of smallholder farmer communities with the evaluation by scientists based on soil analysis and model calculations. The role of the smallholder farmer community in soil fertility evaluation and management was examined from two `research for development¿ projects in northern Tanzania. These are the African Highlands Initiative (AHI) and the Soil Water Management Research Group (SWMRG). Participatory approaches were applied by both projects. Farmers¿ experience and knowledge of local indicators of soil quality were used in identifying soil fertility constraints and in generating resource flow maps. The farmers¿ evaluation of soil fertility was compared with soil analytical data and with calculations of maize yields by the model QUEFTS. Farmers¿ indigenous knowledge in soil fertility evaluation mostly agreed with laboratory analysis and model calculations by QUEFTS. Model calculations identified potassium as the most limiting nutrient in the highlands in northeastern Tanzania for yields less than 3 t ha¿1 and phosphorus for yields higher than 4 t ha¿1. In Maswa (Lake Victoria Basin) nitrogen was most limiting. Given that farmers¿ evaluation of soil fertility is relative to what they see around them, there is a need to verify their observations, but also the interpretation of laboratory data by models like QUEFTS requires continuous and critical validation. Both projects have shown that there is scope to reverse the trends of declining soil fertility in smallholder farms in northern Tanzania. Essential was that the interaction with scientists has built confidence in the farmers because their knowledge in addressing soil fertility constraints was recognized.
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