Taking good care of soils to increase land productivity

Therese Gondwe, Emmanuel Oladeji Alamu, Godfree Chigeza, Chipo Chisonga and Christabell Nachilima – IITA-Zambia

Violet Mwanza (right) showing soybean and maize crop grown in rotation to a fellow farmer. Photo by T. Gondwe, IITA.

Violet Mwanza is a lead farmer from Nkunga agriculture camp in Chimusuku village, 35 km away from Katete District, Eastern Province, Zambia.

In July 2015, she enrolled in the Farmers’ club and got trained as a lead farmer in the farmers’ program under the project Scaling out Integrated Soil Fertility Manageent practices (ISFM) that IITA implemented in partnership with Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) with funding from the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

“I decided to join when I heard that the project focused on improving soybean production using ISFM practices to improve soil, income, and welfare of farmers,” she says.

As a lead farmer she supported passing on the knowledge gained by setting up on-farm demonstrations for other farmers to learn. In 2015, she planted 2 ha of soybean and 2 ha of maize.

“I harvested 30 × 50 kg bags of soybean and 38 × 50 kg bags of maize. The harvest was poor due to poor rains. I used the money from maize and soybean sales to buy farm inputs for the 2016/17 season and I doubled the hectarage of soybean from 2 ha to 4 ha. I was motivated to increase the hectarage due to the good soybean market in 2015 season. The project also linked me to a seed company that provided me with seed and fertilizer on loan.”

“I applied manure and half the recommended fertilizer rate for maize. I harvested 120 × 50 bags of soybean and 125 × 50-kg bags of maize. These results cannot go without appreciating the knowledge I have acquired from the project by joining the Farmers’ club. These methods and practices of farming really helped me to have enough and a good crop yield with a good harvest. I consider myself to have succeeded and my harvest surpassed my expectations. My advice to fellow farmers is that if you take good care of your soils, land productivity will increase.” Violet Mwanza





Posted on November 4, 2018 in Managing natural resources

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