African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6578

Full Length Research Paper

Fertilizer micro-dosing in West African low-input cereals cropping: Benefits, challenges and improvement strategies

Okebalama C. Blessing
  • Okebalama C. Blessing
  • Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Enugu State, Nigeria.
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Ali Ibrahim
  • Ali Ibrahim
  • International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Niamey BP: 12404, Niger.
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Ebenezer Y. Safo
  • Ebenezer Y. Safo
  • Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
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Edward Yeboah
  • Edward Yeboah
  • CSIR – Soil Research Institute, Kwadaso, Kumasi, Ghana.
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Robert C. Abaidoo
  • Robert C. Abaidoo
  • College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
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Vincent Logah
  • Vincent Logah
  • International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Niamey BP: 12404, Niger.
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Uzoh Ifeyinwa Monica
  • Uzoh Ifeyinwa Monica
  • Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Enugu State, Nigeria.
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  •  Received: 15 August 2016
  •  Accepted: 07 September 2016
  •  Published: 06 April 2017

Abstract

Soil amendments are often unavailable in adequate quantities for increased crop production in smallholder cereal-based cropping systems in Africa. In order to increase crop yields and encourage farmers to apply inorganic fertilizers, fertilizer micro-dosing technology was developed. Fertilizer micro-dosing or “micro-fertilization” consists of the application of a small quantity of mineral fertilizer together with seeds of the target crop in the planting hole at sowing or 2-4 weeks after sowing. The objective of this paper is to review literature concerning crops responses to fertilizer micro-dosing in West Africa. The review also evaluates the benefits and challenges associated with nutrient management under fertilizer micro-dosing and supportive strategies for further improvement in the efficient use of limited nutrient sources of smallholder farmers were suggested. Recent scientific developments on fertilizer micro-dosing revealed that this technology has given promising results in respect of crop yields improvement, fertilizer use efficiency and economic returns. Other studies have, however, indicated that fertilizer micro-dosing increases the risk of soil nutrient imbalances due to low-input. For this reason, we suggest that fertilizer micro-dosing should be used in concert with organic amendments to optimize productivity of smallholder farmers in West Africa.

 

Key words: Fertilizer micro-dosing, smallholder farmer, crop yield, farmer’s income.