A fertiliser recommendation serves to provide the land-user, who is most often a farmer, with advice on how best to manage the fertility, i.e. the productive capacity, of his or her land. Putting it like this, it seems like a remarkably simple exercise. Then why is there so much fuss about it? After nearly 20 years of research in soil fertility and nutrient management I came to some conclusions...
The key is in the application of the fertilisers, not in the fertilisers themselves
Let’s first get into the fuss... fertiliser recommendations typically address mineral fertilisers that is those fertilisers that originate from mines (P and K) or from air (N). There are some terrible stories of what can happen when mineral fertilisers are used in the wrong way…
In 2015 the report ‘A Soiled Reputation’ on the adverse impact of mineral fertilisers in (tropical) agriculture was published. It fueled the (sometimes fierce
This quarter AgriProFocus facilitated two sustainable value chain workshops in Ethiopia: one on mapping soil fertility value chains for the Fertile Grounds Initiative held in Ziway, and one on mapping tree seedling value chains for GiZ at Menagasha. Members of the AgriProFocus Youth in Agribusiness Platform had the opportunity to participate in both workshops.
The interactive value chain mapping technique described in the AgriProFocus Gender in Value Chains Toolkits was used in both instances; workshop participants were supported to identify social, economic and environmental constraints and opportunities to the core and extended value chain of specific agricultural products (highland tree seedlings, lowland tree seedlings, compost, biochar, vermicompost, biofertilizer, and green manure seed).
Feedback from the tree seedling value chain workshop was very positive, feedback from the soil fertility works... Read more
Enhancing the knowledge and raising awareness about uses, challenges and potentials of organic nutrient sources was among the core objectives of a regional workshop by the Fertile Ground Initiative and CIAT held in Nairobi 12-13 September 2016.
The workshop “Compost for Sustainable Agriculture – facts, myths, potentials and business opportunities” addressed quality and quantity issues linked to the use of such resources, and how and if they can make existing farming systems more sustainable. It discussed the quality of compost samples that were gathered and analyzed beforehand; and discussed several existing and possible business models for resource recovery. More than 50 participants from different sectors including research, NGO’s, governmental organizations, private sector (mostly from the composting sector), networks and platforms with differe... Read more
"The third Global Soil Week convened in Berlin, Germany, from 19-23 April 2015 was on the theme “Soil. The Substance of Transformation.”. It brought together 600 scientists, policy makers and practitioners from 80 countries." This website now has recap reports and highlights posted.
It also provides good background documents if you want to know more about why we should "Better Save Soils" to speak with their attractive slogan. For example, you can download a very nice looking and informative SOIL ATLAS.
See here an example of the pages on organic farming, coming from the soil atlas: