Analysis of Soil Related Constraints for Sustainable Intensification

FAO estimates that agricultural intensification contributes about 80% of increased crop production in developing countries. Thus sustainable intensification (SI) will require, among other things, better use of land resources upon which production depends. This is critical given that most of the arable land in Africa has soil related problems, leading losses of nutrients and land cover (Heng et al. 2015). In this context improved land management is critical to overcoming soil related constraints to sustainable food production and in targeting agricultural interventions. However, limited availability of site-specific nutrient management guidelines for semi-arid zones in Tanzania undermines efforts to target technologies in the specific biophysical conditions in which smallholder farmers operate. Thus technologies adopted under these circumstances are risky as they may fail to address key drivers of enhanced crop production or land degradation. We characterized soils in Kongwa and Kiteto districts to assess fertility status and drivers of land degradation so as to inform the development of integrated land management options for SI under the Africa RISING project. This approach helps to link soil management recommendations to soil conditions and in targeting interventions./p>

About the project

Project title: Africa RISING- Intensification of Maize-Legume Based Systems in the Semi-Arid Areas of Tanzania to Increase Farm Productivity and Improve Farming Natural Resource Base

Project abstract

The aim of the Africa RISING project in Kongwa and Kiteto Districts, Tanzania is to provide a scientific basis for sustainably intensifying agricultural production in semi-arid areas of central Tanzania. The project activities are falls under 4 thematic areas that address three critical elements of sustainable intensification (SI), i.e. genetic, ecological and socio-economic intensification technologies. The scope of activities being implemented includes packaging of new legume and cereal varieties with over 120% yield advantage, packaging and validation of integrated productivity enhancing technologies for cereals, legumes, legume trees and soil health technologies, food safety primarily to reduce aflatoxin contamination and integration of livestock into the cropping systems. The innovation platform is used to set R4D priority in the active sites. In the 2013-2014 season, we reached out to about 1217 farmers Kongwa and Kiteto districts. In 2014 we plan to reach out to about 1500 new farmers. The project team is comprised of national partners (e.g. ARI-Hombolo, District Agricultural Officers, SUA and UDOM) and CG Partners (CIMMYT and ICRAF) under the leadership of ICRISAT.

Project website: http://africa-rising.net

Project start date: 05/1/2012

Project end date : 09/30/2016

Fertilizer Microdosing

Most farmers and extension officers in Tanzania use blanket fertilizer recommendations, which can be ineffective in sustaining crops productions. The most recent fertilizer recommendation report (Marandu et al., 2014) do not have guidelines for semiarid zones. Besides, developing agronomic rates (Mkoma, 2015), our work in 2016 seasons addressed the aspects of use efficiency and costs of fertilizer by refining the recommended rates into micro-dose rate. Fertilizer micro dosing involves application of small doses of fertilizer 5-6 kg P/ha (2-4g/hill as NPK) at sowing or shortly after germination to improve uptake or use efficiency and crops yields. The technique also holds high potential to reduce inputs costs because the amount of fertilizer is reduced substantially compared to recommended rate. Fertilizer micro-dosing trials were established in Mlali, Molet and Njoro villages during the 2016 growing seasons using the randomized complete block design (RCBD) with the three replications. Treatments include N (0, 15, 30 and 60 kg/ha) and P (0, 7.5, 15, and 30kg P/ha) in a factorial combination and the 16 treatment combinations were allocated randomly to each block. The test crop was maize, variety Staha. Maize was planted at 90 cm x 60 cm in Mlali and Molet villages and at a spacing of 75 cm x 60 cm in Njoro village. The plot size in both sites was 5 m x 6 m. This study includes data generated from this study trial.

About the project

Project title: Intensification of Maize-Legume Based Systems in the Semi-Arid Areas of Tanzania to Increase Farm Productivity and Improve Farming Natural Resource Base

Project abstract


The aim of the Africa RISING project in Kongwa and Kiteto Districts, Tanzania is to provide a scientific basis for sustainably intensifying agricultural production in semi-arid areas of central Tanzania. The project activities are falls under 4 thematic areas that address three critical elements of sustainable intensification (SI), i.e. genetic, ecological and socio-economic intensification technologies. The scope of activities being implemented include: packaging of new legume and cereal varieties with over 120% yield advantage, packaging and validation of integrated productivity enhancing technologies for cereals, legumes, legume trees and soil health technologies, food safety primarily to reduce aflatoxin contamination and integration of livestock into the cropping systems. The innovation platform is used to set R4D priority in the action sites. The project team is comprised of national partners (e.g. ARI-Hombolo, District Agricultural Officers, SUA and UDOM) and CG Partners (CIMMYT and ICRAF) under the leadership of ICRISAT.

Project website: http://africa-rising.net/where-we-work/west-africa/

Project start date: 2012-05-01

Project end date : 2016-09-30

Evaluating Fertilizer Recommendations with Farmers

The Africa RISING program adopts the mother-baby trial approach to test, validate and disseminate research results. Under this approach farmers have been exposed to the technologies tested and validated on-farm (mother trials). Thereafter, farmers are given the opportunity to experiment technology they chose on their farms (baby trials) after a training. In this context, ICRAF and partners developed fertilizer recommendations (30 kg P/ha and 60 kg N/ha) for maize in semi-arid Tanzania during the 2013 and 2014 growing seasons. Farmers were involved to test these rates widely in their fields (as baby plots) when integrated with improve maize varieties and different types of fertilizers. Fertilizer tested were Minjingu and Yara Mila Cereals fertilizers and maize varieties were Staha, Kilima, SEED Co and a local variety known as Gunzi Jekundu. The work started with training farmers on promising fertilizer technologies and good agronomic practices (GAP) during the beginning of the 2015 (293 farmers) and 2016 seasons (682 farmers). About 605 farmers (55% Male and 45% Female) who attended training in 2016 established baby trials to validate fertilizer-maize variety technologies. Each baby farmers had a max of four plots assessing performance of improved maize variety and local variety with and without Minjingu (Nafaka Plus for basal application at planting and Minjingu top dressing) or Yara Mila Cereal fertilizers. Yara Mila Cereal was used for a basal and top dressing applications as per guideline printed in the fertilizer bag and from the company’s agronomist.This data study contains data produced from these trials.

About the project

Project title: Intensification of Maize-Legume Based Systems in the Semi-Arid Areas of Tanzania to Increase Farm Productivity and Improve Farming Natural Resource Base

Project abstract


The aim of the Africa RISING project in Kongwa and Kiteto Districts, Tanzania is to provide a scientific basis for sustainably intensifying agricultural production in semi-arid areas of central Tanzania. The project activities are falls under 4 thematic areas that address three critical elements of sustainable intensification (SI), i.e. genetic, ecological and socio-economic intensification technologies. The scope of activities being implemented include: packaging of new legume and cereal varieties with over 120% yield advantage, packaging and validation of integrated productivity enhancing technologies for cereals, legumes, legume trees and soil health technologies, food safety primarily to reduce aflatoxin contamination and integration of livestock into the cropping systems. The innovation platform is used to set R4D priority in the action sites. The project team is comprised of national partners (e.g. ARI-Hombolo, District Agricultural Officers, SUA and UDOM) and CG Partners (CIMMYT and ICRAF) under the leadership of ICRISAT.

Project website: http://africa-rising.net/where-we-work/west-africa/

Project start date: 2012-05-01

Project end date : 2016-09-30

Africa RISING Tanzania- Maize Intensification Using Fertilizer

Using appropriate fertilizer recommendations and effective fertilizer materials is important to meet nutrient requirements of maize and sustain soil fertility. Unlike other agroecological zones, no fertilizer recommendations have been developed for the semi-arid zone in Tanzania, undermining the effort to target technologies in the specific biophysical conditions in which smallholder farmers operate. To fill this gap field experiments were carried out to develop fertilizer application rates for nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) and to identify the effective P source for this zone at Molet and Njoro Villages. Randomized complete block design (RCBD) with three replications was adopted in this study. Triple Super Phosphate (TSP) fertilizer was used to test various application rates: 0, 7.5, 15, 30, 45 and 60 kg P/ha. For P-source trial, Minjingu Mazao, Minjingu hyperphosphate, and TSP were tested at 0 and 30 kg P/ha for each fertilizer material. For the N-fertilizer trial, treatments included control (no fertilizer), 20, 40, 60, 80 and 120 kg N/ha and it was conducted at Njoro alone. In 2015 about 292 farmers (Female 134 and Male 158) in 3 villages demonstrated the fertilizer technology on their baby plots using the application rates developed on the mother sites.

About the project

Project title: Africa RISING

Project abstract

The aim of the Africa RISING project in Kongwa and Kiteto Districts, Tanzania is to provide a scientific basis for sustainably intensifying agricultural production in semi-arid areas of central Tanzania. The project activities are falls under 4 thematic areas that address three critical elements of sustainable intensification (SI), i.e. genetic, ecological and socio-economic intensification technologies. The scope of activities being implemented include: packaging of new legume and cereal varieties with over 120% yield advantage, packaging and validation of integrated productivity enhancing technologies for cereals, legumes, legume trees and soil health technologies, food safety primarily to reduce aflatoxin contamination and integration of livestock into the cropping systems. The innovation platform is used to set R4D priority in the action sites. In the 2013-2014 season, we reached out to about 1217 farmers Kongwa and Kiteto districts. In 2014 we plan to reach out to about 1500 new farmers. The project team is comprised of national partners (e.g. ARI-Hombolo, District Agricultural Officers, SUA and UDOM) and CG Partners (CIMMYT and ICRAF) under the leadership of ICRISAT.

Project website: http://africa-rising.net

Project start date: 05/1/2012

Project end date : 09/30/2016

Africa RISING- Integrated Livestock and Crop Management (Shelterbelt)

Sustained livestock productivity in semiarid central Tanzania is limited by availability of quality feeds of sufficient amount, especially during the off season. High scarcity of fuelwood for cooking energy is another developmental challenge in the area. Limited energy can adversely affect soil fertility as farmers use crop residues and/or manure as a source of energy. to address these developmental challenges and build resilience of farming systems, Africa RISING is screening local species for fodder quality and introducing fast growing N-rich fodder trees/shrubs in various niches (contour bunds, woodlots, shelterbelts) on-farm to supply supplementary high quality fodder and other benefits like fuelwood, erosion control and soil fertility improvement. Local browse tree species have been screened for fodder quality and best species identified in a recently published journal article. Additional data is being collected to estimate fodder and fuelwood production from planted tree species on-farm.


About the project

Project title: Intensification of Maize-Legume Based Systems in the Semi-Arid Areas of Tanzania to Increase Farm Productivity and Improve Farming Natural Resource Base

Project abstract

The aim of the Africa RISING project in Kongwa and Kiteto Districts, Tanzania is to provide a scientific basis for sustainably intensifying agricultural production in semi-arid areas of central Tanzania. The project activities are falls under 4 thematic areas that address three critical elements of sustainable intensification (SI), i.e. genetic, ecological and socio-economic intensification technologies. The scope of activities being implemented includes packaging of new legume and cereal varieties with over 120% yield advantage, packaging and validation of integrated productivity enhancing technologies for cereals, legumes, legume trees and soil health technologies, food safety primarily to reduce aflatoxin contamination and integration of livestock into the cropping systems. The innovation platform is used to set R4D priority in the active sites. In the 2013-2014 season, we reached out to about 1217 farmers Kongwa and Kiteto districts. In 2014 we plan to reach out to about 1500 new farmers. The project team is comprised of national partners (e.g. ARI-Hombolo, District Agricultural Officers, SUA, and UDOM) and CG Partners (CIMMYT, and ICRAF) under the leadership of ICRISAT.

Project website: http://africa-rising.net

Project start date: 2012-05-01

Project end date : 2016-09-30

Africa RISING Tanzania- Intensifying Maize-Based Cropping Systems Through Pigeonpea Integrations

Yield advantages in intercropping are determined by the net effects of positive (facilitative and complementarity) interactions and mitigating negative (competitive) interactions. Pigeonpea plants have both physiological and morphological attributes that may reduce interspecific competition in mixed culture. The initial slow growth of pigeonpea relative to cereals minimizes competition in intercropping systems, making pigeonpea compatible with most cereal-based systems. In semi-arid areas, however, growing seasons are increasingly becoming shorter because of low and sporadic rainfall. Consequently, yield of intercropped pigeonpea may be adversely affected by competition, if farmers do not use appropriate agronomic practices. Pigeonpea is a fairly new legume crop in Kongwa and Kiteto districts, requiring both adaptability studies and agronomy studies particularly for sustainable intensification purposes. Thus, this study is being carried out to assess the component interactions and their impacts on farm productivity in order to provide guidelines for optimizing yields of maize and pigeonpea in semi-arid climates of Central Tanzania.


About the project

Project title: Africa RISING

Project abstract

The aim of the Africa RISING project in Kongwa and Kiteto Districts, Tanzania is to provide a scientific basis for sustainably intensifying agricultural production in semi-arid areas of central Tanzania. The project activities are falls under 4 thematic areas that address three critical elements of sustainable intensification (SI), i.e. genetic, ecological and socio-economic intensification technologies. The scope of activities being implemented include: packaging of new legume and cereal varieties with over 120% yield advantage, packaging and validation of integrated productivity enhancing technologies for cereals, legumes, legume trees and soil health technologies, food safety primarily to reduce aflatoxin contamination and integration of livestock into the cropping systems. The innovation platform is used to set R4D priority in the action sites. In the 2013-2014 season, we reached out to about 1217 farmers Kongwa and Kiteto districts. In 2014 we plan to reach out to about 1500 new farmers. The project team is comprised of national partners (e.g. ARI-Hombolo, District Agricultural Officers, SUA and UDOM) and CG Partners (CIMMYT and ICRAF) under the leadership of ICRISAT.

Project website: http://africa-rising.net

Project start date: 05/01/2012

Project end date : 9/30/2016