Low soil fertility link to rural poverty

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8 July 2015
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In a correspondence to Nature Plants by Vanlauwe et al (Article Number: 15101/DOI: 10.1038/NPLANTS.2015.101) dated 7th July 2015 entitled “Soil fertility decline at the base of rural poverty in sub-Saharan Africa”, the link between nutrient mining of soils and low productivity is outlined.

In addition the authors declare that nutrient mining can be remedied relatively quickly through the application of fertilizer citing FAO data showing that increases in maize productivity in Nigeria, Malawi, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Niger and Uganda are directly correlated with higher fertilizer applications in these countries.

Soil rehabilitation practices including addition of high quality manures and liming is also essential to restore degraded soils and make them more responsive to fertilizers.

Commitment to maintaining and restoring the soil resources in sub-Saharan Africa can be fostered by ensuring farmers have access to affordable agro-inputs – and access to markets – allowing farmers to gain an income from their produce and re-invest in maintaining soil health and productivity.

“This is an important step in accepting the important role of fertilizers in increasing production per hectare and improving livelihoods in developing agricultural regions, and removing Yield Gaps which will ultimately provide the solution to global food and nutrition security” says Dr Kevin Moran of Kemnovation.

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