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CTA. 2003. Soil fertility. Rural Radio Resource Pack 03/05. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to cite or share this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/64818
No one should be surprised that soil fertility in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa is declining
Africa?s consumption of fertilizers is the lowest in the world and organic matter that could, to some extent, replace fertility, is often burnt and soils left bare to the degrading effects of the sun and the wind. How can farmers produce more when the plant producing power of the soil is becoming less? Fertility from the factory Why are fertilizers not used more extensively? If South Africa is excluded, fertilizer use in sub-Saharan Africa averages 9kg per hectare. The global average is 100kg per hectare; China uses 250kg per hectare. Perhaps this is to be expected because an African farmer pays, on average, six times more for a bag of fertilizer than do farmers elsewhere in the world. There are many reasons but among them are: ? poor road and rail networks. It often costs as much to transport one tonne of fertilizer from Europe or North America to the port of an African country as it does to transport the same volume 100km inland. ? manipulation by vested interests in the import and supply processes of agricultural inputs. ? dealers who fix unreasonable profit margins ? fertilizer products simply not being available at regional dealerships when farmers need to apply them. ? the majority of African farmers are unable to make insufficient profit from the sale of their crops to allow them to purchase fertilizers. It is not difficult to see why soil fertility management is looming large in the minds of those concerned about decreasing yields and increasing poverty among Africa?s smallholder farmers. ...