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Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 115, Issue 2, pp 263–279 | Cite as

Biochar application and wastewater irrigation in urban vegetable production of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

  • Delphine Manka’abusi
  • Christoph Steiner
  • Edmund Kyei Akoto-Danso
  • Désiré J. P. Lompo
  • Volker Haering
  • Steffen Werner
  • Bernd Marschner
  • Andreas BuerkertEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

In West Africa population growth and fast urbanization challenge food security for which urban and peri-urban agriculture plays an increasing role. Adding biochar to soils depleted in soil organic carbon may improve soil quality but its effectiveness in high input systems, such as urban horticulture in West Africa, is unknown. We studied the effects of fertilization, amended biochar from agricultural waste, irrigation water quality and quantity on small-scale urban vegetable production in a multi-factorial split-plot experiment on a Haplic Lixisol in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. A single application of corn cob biochar at the rate of 20 t ha−1 was used in a 2-year study covering eleven cropping cycles. Biochar significantly improved total fresh matter yields of two amaranth cycles by 39% and 17%, lettuce by 7% and carrot by 11%. Repeated measures analysis showed that biochar increased average total biomass by 9% and marketable yield by 6%. Biochar was effective on fertilized plots while plant growth on unfertilized plots was limited by nutrients, most likely nitrogen (N). A 33% reduction in irrigation water caused yield declines of 4–23% which was more pronounced in fertilized plots with higher water consumption by the larger plants. Biochar increased potassium (K) concentrations while wastewater reduced phosphorus (P) in plant tissue. The study showed a positive effect of biochar on crop yields and nutrition while wastewater effects were limited to nutrient deficient plots.

Keywords

Fertigation Food security Sub-Saharan Africa Wastewater Urban horticulture 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was carried within the UrbanFoodPlus Project, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) under the initiative GlobE—Research for the Global Food Supply, Grant Numbers 031A242-A, 031A242-B. The support of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) by a scholarship to the first author is gratefully acknowledged. We are thankful to Claudia Thiema-Fricke and Eva Wiegard at Universität Kassel, Witzenhausen for technical support. We acknowledge Dr. Kofi Atiah for producing the biochar, and also the help of our field technician Bernard Nassouri and farmers during the field work. This study would not have been possible without the infrastructural and logistic support of Institut de l’Environnement et de Recherches Agricoles (INERA), Ouagadougo, Burkina Faso.

Supplementary material

10705_2019_9969_MOESM1_ESM.docx (744 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 743 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Organic Plant Production and Agroecosystems Research in the Tropics and SubtropicsUniversität KasselWitzenhausenGermany
  2. 2.Agronomie-Pédologie/Gestion des Ressources NaturellesUniversité de Dédougou/Université Ouaga 1 Pr Joseph KI-ZERBOOuagadougouBurkina Faso
  3. 3.Institute of Geography, Department for Soil Science and Soil EcologyRuhr-Universität BochumBochumGermany

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