Labor requirements and profitability of alternative soil fertility replenishment technologies in Zambia
Low soil fertility is a major concern in agricultural productivity and development policy discourse in sub-saharan Africa. The problem is exacerbated by government withdrawal from fertilizer input markets and the inability of private sector operators to fill the gap. This warranted a search for other nutrient sources to supplement chemical fertilizers. Based on field data collected in Zambia, this study assessed the labor inputs implications of âimproved tree fallowsâ, continuous maize cropping with and without mineral fertilizer and, evaluated the financial profitability of the different land use systems. Results show that agroforestry-based land use systems are more profitable (NPV between $233 and $309 per ha) than farmersâ practice of continuous maize production without external fertilization ($130/ha) but, they are less profitable than mineral fertilizer ($499). When the effects of the 50% government subsidy on fertilizers are taken into account, the differences in the profitability of fertilizers over improved tree fallows falls from 61% to 13%. The returns per person labor-day is $3.20 for fertilizer and $2.50, $2.40, and $1.90 respectively, for the three agroforestry options evaluated and only $1.10 for unfertilized maize. These returns compare with a daily agricultural wage of $0.50 in the study area. Key determinants of financial attractiveness and by extension, potential adoptability of the land use systems were identified. Given the low rate (20%) of farmers in Zambia who have access to fertilizers, there is a large niche to integrate other soil nutrient replenishing options with fertilizer to improve food security and reduce poverty among resource-poor smallholder farmers in Africa. Keywords: Agroforestry, âimproved tree fallowsâ, financial analysis, Production economics, Southern Africa, Sustainable agriculture
Agricultural and Food Policy, Community/Rural/Urban Development, Consumer/Household Economics, Environmental Economics and Policy, Farm Management, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, Food Security and Poverty, Land Economics/Use, Production Economics, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies,
In order to set up a list of libraries that you have access to,
you must first login
or sign up.
Then set up a personal list of libraries from your profile page by
clicking on your user name at the top right of any screen.