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

Urban farmer practices in soil fertility and water management and the influence of gender in Harare and Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe

Nyamasoka B.
  • Nyamasoka B.
  • Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, University of Zimbabwe, P. O. Box MP167, Mt Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe.
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Nyamugafata P
  • Nyamugafata P
  • Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, University of Zimbabwe, P. O. Box MP167, Mt Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe.
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Madyiwa S.
  • Madyiwa S.
  • Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, University of Zimbabwe, P. O. Box MP167, Mt Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe.
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Nyamangara J.
  • Nyamangara J.
  • International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Matopos Research Station, P. O. Box 776, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
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  •  Received: 10 July 2013
  •  Accepted: 17 December 2014
  •  Published: 15 January 2015

Abstract

Poor soil fertility and increased frequency of mid-season droughts have made it difficult for urban farmers to get sustainable crop yields against a background of unemployment and reliance on urban agriculture for livelihoods in Harare and Chitungwiza. It is important to know soil fertility and water management practices used by urban farmers so that their performance can be evaluated and gender influence on their use assessed. The objectives of this study were (i) to identify soil fertility and water management practices used by urban farmers and their effect on maize yields and (ii) to determine the influence of gender on their use. Results showed a dominance of women (62.4%) over men (37.6%) in carrying out farming activities. Farmers used a combination of either poultry manure, sewage sludge or cattle manure with mineral fertilizers and attained an average maize grain yield of 1.5 t/ha. More women used organic fertilizers than men, but they applied lower rates leading to lower yields. Quantity of mineral fertilizer and sewage sludge used was significantly correlated with gender. More women than men used ridges and furrows, raised beds and mulching as water management practices. Development programs targeted for these farmers should consider gender in their design to ensure sustainability.

 

Key wordsGender, manure, soil fertility, urban agriculture, water management.