To ease your site search, article categories are at bottom of page.

January 30, 2010

Soil fertility grant to boost grain yields

by Kaburu Mugambi

The Bill &Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a $18 million grant towards improving soil fertility in Kenya and seven other African countries.
The four-year financing will be channelled through the Biological Nitrogen Fixation Project, which targets more than 200,000 small-scale farmers in the eight countries by improving food production and soil fertility through expanding production of legume crops, thus increasing inputs from biological nitrogen fixation.

In Africa legume crops often fail to fix useful amounts of nitrogen because their partner bacteria are not present in the soil or because the soil lacks other nutrients such as phosphorous, according to agriculture experts.

By using simple technology, farmers can introduce the bacteria as inoculants, together with the seed and small amounts of other nutrients as fertiliser. This simple package gives more than double the yields of farmers in many cases, and helps to improve soil fertility.

Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 minister Wycliffe Oparanya said growth of legumes to ensure effective biological nitrogen fixation could meet the use of 50 kilogrammes of nitrogen a hectare recommended by Abuja Summit in 2006.

Oparanya said in Brazil and Southern Africa rates of nitrogen fixation with soya-beans under field conditions could exceed 300 kilos a hectare. “Although the inclusion of legumes has the potential to improve system productivity, often less than five to 10 per cent of cultivated land is currently planted with field legumes,” the minister said during the launch of the project in Nairobi. “Grain legumes are often included as minor inter-crops in fields of cereals and other staple crops.”

The project’s annual benefits at the conclusion of the project are projected at $31.9 million based on estimates of increased productivity by the targeted grain legumes and their contribution to yield of subsequent maize. Soya-beans, common beans, cowpeas, groundnuts, chickpea and pigeon peas are the target legumes.

Daily Nation



Article Categories

AGRA agribusiness agrochemicals agroforestry aid Algeria aloe vera Angola aquaculture banana barley beans beef bees Benin biodiesel biodiversity biof biofuel biosafety biotechnology Botswana Brazil Burkina Faso Burundi CAADP Cameroon capacity building cashew cassava cattle Central African Republic cereals certification CGIAR Chad China CIMMYT climate change cocoa coffee COMESA commercial farming Congo Republic conservation agriculture cotton cow pea dairy desertification development disease diversification DRCongo drought ECOWAS Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia EU EUREPGAP events/meetings expo exports fa fair trade FAO fertilizer finance fisheries floods flowers food security fruit Gabon Gambia gender issues Ghana GM crops grain green revolution groundnuts Guinea Bissau Guinea Conakry HIV/AIDS honey hoodia horticulture hydroponics ICIPE ICRAF ICRISAT IFAD IITA imports India infrastructure innovation inputs investment irrigation Ivory Coast jatropha kenaf keny Kenya khat land deals land management land reform Lesotho Liberia Libya livestock macadamia Madagascar maiz maize Malawi Mali mango marijuana markets Mauritania Mauritius mechanization millet Morocco Mozambique mushroom Namibia NEPAD Niger Nigeria organic agriculture palm oil pastoralism pea pest control pesticides pineapple plantain policy issues potato poultry processing productivity Project pyrethrum rai rain reforestation research rice rivers rubber Rwanda SADC Sao Tome and Principe seed seeds Senegal sesame Seychelles shea butter Sierra Leone sisal soil erosion soil fertility Somalia sorghum South Africa South Sudan Southern Africa spices standards subsidies Sudan sugar sugar cane sustainable farming Swaziland sweet potato Tanzania tariffs tea tef tobacco Togo tomato trade training Tunisia Uganda UNCTAD urban farming value addition value-addition vanilla vegetables water management weeds West Africa wheat World Bank WTO yam Zambia Zanzibar zero tillage Zimbabwe

  © 2007 Africa News Network design by

Back to TOP