By Prossy Nandudu
Uganda is considered one of the African countries with low fertilizer usage. And yet soil fertility has been depleted, according to soil scientists, from the National Agriculture Research Laboratories Kawanda.
They add that soils lose fertility through runoff water, which makes soils to lose 21kilograms of Nitrogen ,8kilograms of Phosphorus and 43 kilograms of potassium per hectare per year.
They also add that the current fertilizer usage has stagnated less than 1kilogram per hectare per year. Reason according to soil scientists is the lack of information on the available fertilizers, application, and accessibility.
This year’s Harvest Money Expo, farmers were advised on the new strategy, termed as the 4R strategy to interest farmers as well as guide them on the good fertilizer application practices.
Asher Wilson Okurut, a research scientist on the banana breeding program at NARL explained that the 4R strategy which is Right type: Right quantity, Right timing, Right placement of fertilizers, is a science-based approach focusing on best fertilizer management practices.
The advantage with the model is that it reduces wastage during application, reduce costs because one will only purchase what is needed, applies them the right and recommended units with guidance of an extension work before planting again at and at the recommended time, explained Okurut.
He also called on farmers to look out for disease free, high yielding varieties or banana suckers suitable for their locations, and for what purpose.