Advances in Integrated Soil Fertility Management in sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges and Opportunities

pp 531-536

Integrated Soil Fertility Management Technologies: A Counteract to Existing Milestone in Obtaining Achievable Economical Crop Yields in Cultivated Lands of Poor Smallholder Farmers in Malawi

  • Moses Wazingwa MunthaliAffiliated withChitedze Agricultural Research Station

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Agriculture sector remains to be the engine of economic growth for Malawi as it contributes over 40% to gross domestic product of which over 70% is generated by the smallholder sector; 90% of export earnings, provides employment to over 85% of the country’s population and income source for over 60% of the rural poor. Literature search has indicated that a lot of research work done on integrated soil fertility management and several technologies generated. Yet decline in soil productive capacity stemming from several types of soil degradation such as chemical (acidification, fertility decline/nutrient depletion) has been country’s growing concern in limiting crop production. Most degraded soils in Malawi have low nutrient holding capacity, pH below 5.5, poor infiltration and moisture retention qualities with little organic matter and severe nutrients depletion. Sulphur for instance, is universally deficient whereas K has deficiency of about 20% in many parts of the Northern and Central Regions. Integrated soil fertility management technologies such as combined use of organic and inorganic fertilizers are vital in improving and sustaining crop production. However, most smallholder farmers have not opted for some of these technologies and consequently are experiencing poor and decreasing crop yields. Recently, several deficient nutrients not commonly known to farmers (Zinc, Calcium and Magnesium) besides nitrogen and phosphorus have been found to be limiting economic crop yields. Proper knowledge and enhanced use of integrated soil fertility management technologies are vital and likely to boost economic crop productivity in Malawi


Crop yields Deficient elements integrated soil fertility management Smallholder farmers Soil degradation