Conservation Agriculture and Soil Fertility Improvements: Indications from Smallholder Farmers in Chafukuma, Solwezi , Zambia

  • Bridget Bwalya Umar University of Zambia
  • Joshua Sakambuta
Keywords: minimum tillage, conventional agriculture, crop rotations

Abstract

This study assessed the effects of conservation agriculture (CA) practices on soil fertility of smallholder farmers’ agricultural fields in Chafukuma, North Western Zambia. A total of 34 paired soil samples from adjacent agricultural fields in which CA and conventional agriculture (CV) had been practiced for at least five years were analysed for significant differences in plant available phosphorus (P), exchangeable potassium (K), total nitrogen (N), soil organic carbon (SOC) and soil reaction (pH). Smallholder farmers’ CA practices and their perceptions of CA’s effects on soil fertility were investigated through 34 semi structured interviews. Secondary data on CA was collected through desk analysis of CA publications. The study found evidence of CA associated improvements in soil fertility (Tcalc= 4.520, p < 0.0001). This improvement was attributed to the consistent use of good agronomic practices in CA fields whereas these practices were mostly absent from CV fields. The study concludes that CA improved soil fertility in agricultural fields of smallholder farmers in Chafukuma, and could be promoted in CA systems in other high rainfall areas of Zambia provided all the important agronomic practices are utilized consistently. Most of the CA associated agronomic practices could also be extended to CV fields successfully.
Published
2021-12-16
How to Cite
1.
Bwalya Umar B, Sakambuta J. Conservation Agriculture and Soil Fertility Improvements: Indications from Smallholder Farmers in Chafukuma, Solwezi , Zambia. University of Zambia Journal of Agricultural and Biomedical Sciences [Internet]. 16Dec.2021 [cited 28May2022];5(2). Available from: https://journals.unza.zm/index.php/JABS/article/view/592
Section
Agriculture Sciences