Sustainable intensification in Western Kenya : Who will benefit?
Jindo, Keiji ; Schut, Antonius G.T. ; Langeveld, Johannes W.A. - \ 2020
Agricultural Systems 182 (2020). - ISSN 0308-521X
Fertilizer use - Food security - Smallholder farmers - Sustainable intensification
Sustainable Intensification (SI) is essential for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to meet the food demand of the growing population under conditions of increasing land scarcity. However, access to artificial fertilizers is limited, and the current extension system is not effective in serving smallholder farmers. This paper studies farmers' response to improved fertilizer availability under field conditions. Data on farms and families were collected from 267 smallholder farms, while data on fertilizer use and crop response to fertilizer were collected on 127 farm plots. Fertilizer applications and maize yields were measured, and benefit to cost ratio (BCR) of fertilizer application was calculated and to assess its effect on food security. Farm household typologies were used to determine differences in farm endowment and food security classes. Fertilizer application did not significantly improve maize yields in 2017 due to unfavorable weather conditions and pest infestations, whereas significant yield responses were observed in 2018. Consequently, fertilizer application was economically beneficial (BCR >1) for only 45% of the farmers in 2017, compared to 94% in 2018 when 80% of the farmers passed the technology adaptation point (BCR > 2). Surprisingly, economic returns did not vary significantly between household types, implying that fertilizer application provides comparable benefits across all farm types. This is partly explained by the fact that soil fertility varied little between farm types (soil carbon content, for example, showed no correlation with farmer endowment). Still, large differences were observed in farmers' willingness to invest in larger fertilizer applications. Only a small proportion of farmers is expected to increase fertilizer applications as recommended. Our work demonstrates the need to address risks for smallholders and shows that socio-economic aspects are more important than biophysical constraints for policies promoting sustainable intensification.
Fertile cities: Nutrient management practices in urban agriculture
Wielemaker, Rosanne ; Oenema, Oene ; Zeeman, Grietje ; Weijma, Jan - \ 2019
Science of the Total Environment 668 (2019). - ISSN 0048-9697 - p. 1277 - 1288.
Fertilizer use - Nitrogen - Organic matter - Phosphorus - Potassium - Urban farming
Cities are increasingly targeted as centers for sustainable development and innovation of food systems. Urban agriculture (UA) is advocated by some as a multi-faceted approach to help achieve urban sustainability goals as it provides possible social, economic and environmental benefits. The role of UA in restoring resource cycles receives increasing attention, especially with regard to assimilating urban waste. However, there is little information on how nutrients are managed in UA in industrialized countries. To examine nutrient management in UA, data was collected from a total of 25 ground-based UA initiatives in the Netherlands on i) preferences for types of fertilizers, and ii) quantity and quality of fertilizers used including nutrient composition and organic matter content. The main inputs at urban farms were compost and manure, high in organic matter content. The total nutrient inputs were compared to nutrient demand, based on crop nutrient uptake, in order to determine nutrient balances. Results show that mean nutrient inputs exceeded mean crop demand by roughly 450% for total nitrogen, 600% for phosphorus and 250% for potassium. Mean inputs for plant-available nitrogen were comparable to crop uptake values. The surpluses, particularly for phosphorus, are higher than fertilizer application limits used for conventional farming in The Netherlands. While nutrient input calculations were subject to several uncertainties, e.g., due to lack of accuracy of the data supplied by the farmers, results show a salient indication of over-fertilization and thus a suboptimal nutrient use. If UA continues to expand across cities these observed nutrient surpluses may pose a risk for local surface waters and groundwater as well as soil quality. The need to improve nutrient management in UA is evident. Soil tests, harvest logging and book keeping of nutrient inputs would improve data quality and may help balance nutrient inputs with nutrient outputs.
Modelling cereal crops to assess future climate risk for family food self-sufficiency in southern Mali
Traore, Bouba ; Descheemaeker, Katrien ; Wijk, Mark T. van; Corbeels, Marc ; Supit, Iwan ; Giller, Ken E. - \ 2017
Field Crops Research 201 (2017). - ISSN 0378-4290 - p. 133 - 145.
APSIM - Climate change - Crop simulation modelling - Fertilizer use - Planting date - Sub-Saharan Africa
Future climate change will have far reaching consequences for smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of whom depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Here we assessed the farm-level impact of climate change on family food self-sufficiency and evaluated potential adaptation options of crop management. Using three years of experimental data on maize and millet from an area in southern Mali representing the Sudano-Sahelian zone of West Africa we calibrated and tested the Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator (APSIM) model. Changes in future rainfall, maximum and minimum temperature and their simulated effects on maize and millet yield were analysed for climate change predictions of five Global Circulation Models (GCMs) for the 4.5 Wm−2 and 8.5 Wm−2 radiative forcing scenario (rcp4.5 and rcp8.5). In southern Mali, annual maximum and minimum temperatures will increase by 2.9 °C and 3.3 °C by the mid-century (2040–2069) as compared with the baseline (1980–2009) under the rcp4.5 and rcp8.5 scenario respectively. Predicted changes in the total seasonal rainfall differed between the GCMs, but on average, seasonal rainfall was predicted not to change. By mid-century maize grain yields were predicted to decrease by 51% and 57% under current farmer's fertilizer practices in the rcp4.5 and rcp8.5 scenarios respectively. APSIM model predictions indicated that the use of mineral fertilizer at recommended rates cannot fully offset the impact of climate change but can buffer the losses in maize yield up to 46% and 51% of the baseline yield. Millet yield losses were predicted to be less severe under current farmer's fertilizer practices by mid-century i.e. 7% and 12% in the rcp4.5 and rcp8.5 scenario respectively. Use of mineral fertilizer on millet can offset the predicted yield losses resulting in yield increases under both emission scenarios. Under future climate and current cropping practices, food availability is expected to reduce for all farm types in southern Mali. However, large and medium-sized farms can still achieve food self–sufficiency if early planting and recommended rates of fertilizer are applied. Small farms, which are already food insecure, will experience a further decrease in food self-sufficiency, with adaptive measures of early planting and fertilizer use unable to help them achieve food self-sufficiency. By taking into account the diversity in farm households that is typical for the region, we illustrated that crop management strategies must be tailored to the capacity and resource endowment of local farmers. Our place-based findings can support decision making by extension and development agents and policy makers in the Sudano-Sahelian zone of West Africa.