Nelly Bassily | January 27, 2014
In this week’s story from Zimbabwe, farmers use anthill diggings to replenish the fertility of their soil. Our script of the week is all about soil fertility.
Unfortunately, soil fertility is declining in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Climate change is expected to bring more extreme weather events such as flooding and drought, and more unpredictable weather. These changes will likely only deepen problems with soil fertility.
Soil fertility is declining for a variety of reasons, including burning crop residues, excessive or insufficient use of fertilizers, and improper crop rotations.
But there are many traditional and modern practices which can help boost soil fertility, and assist farmers in making their farms more resilient and adaptable to the changing climate. These include micro-dosing of fertilizer, using rather than burning crop residues and other organic matter, planting nitrogen-fixing crops and trees, making good use of compost and manure, and taking steps to prevent wind and water erosion. Best practices will vary by region, and will often build on local knowledge.
This issue pack begins with two true stories about farmers and soil fertility. It then offers some background information on the subject. Next, it suggests some starting points for creating locally relevant radio programs. Finally, it lists various kinds of resources on soil fertility – radio programs, documents, and organizations working on the issue.