Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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Extension Workers Asked To Promote Fertilizer Use

by Wangah Wanyama
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By Prossy Nandudu

Fertilizer experts, ranging from researchers, manufacturers, farmers and donors want the government through its extension arm to teach farmers benefits of fertilizer use. 

The intervention will increase fertilizer demand by farmers so as to increase production.

Available information from researchers indicate that fertilizer use in Uganda currently stands at between 1 to 1.5 kilograms per hectare, which is low given the rate at which the soil is first losing its fertility.

In addition, Uganda loses about 80 kg of nutrients per hectare per year through soil erosion.

Given the high population that depends on agriculture, soils are likely to lose a lot more nutrients if no action is taken, explained Dr Robooni Tumuhimbise, the director of research at the National Agriculture Laboratories (NARL) Kawanda.

“ Soils are degraded through soil erosion cultivation but more so the lack of information on the availability and usage of fertilizers. We are hoping that the extension arm of the government can take this seriously for farmers to benefit,” Tumuhimbise said.

(L-R) Sadik Kassim Deputy Director General, Agriculture Technology Promotion NARO interacting with Upendra Singh Vice President Research at IFDC and Latha Nagarajan Program Director and Senior Scientist at IFDC during Stakeholder workshop for the space to place project at Hotel African on February 6, 2024.photo by Mary Kansiime

He made the remarks on Tuesday, n awareness creation workshop about the Space to Place Project, aimed at providing improved fertilizer and agronomic recommendations to help farmers make informed choices.

 The project, that is being implemented by the NARL in collaboration with the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC)  will lead to efficient fertilizer use for increased crop yields and economic returns.

This will be delivered through the promotion of appropriate soil fertility management recommendations that are guided by digitized soil maps (Space) combined with farm(er)-level characteristics (Place).

To ensure that the project succeeds, there are two types of field trials namely Fertilizer Optimization Trials (FOT) and Fertilizer Rate and Sources (FRS) trials  being  implemented both on-farm and on Research Stations in Six Agro-ecological zones, focusing on maize, upland rice, Irish potato and sunflower as the test crops.

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