Kenya Agricultural Research InstituteLegume Research Network Project

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Date
2006
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Kenya Agricultural Research Institute
Abstract
Most of the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa face serious problems in food security and economic development. This is partly caused by the poor land productivity in the region. Crop yields in Sub-Saharan Africa have hardly increased since the 1960s, in no small part due to the declining soil fertility in the region. Rates of nutrient depletion on the continent are high, with 85% of African farmland having annual nutrient depletion rates of over 30 kg/ha of NPK, and 40% of the rates over 60 kg/ha. This could partly be attributed to the removal of subsidies and the lack of credit. The latter has greatly been responsible for the limited use of inorganic fertilizers and other farm inputs on the continent. The liberalization strategies that have taken place in the past decades have made it very difficult for smallholder farmers in the region to access inputs and extension services needed to raise their productivity. At the same time, traditional methods of replenishing soil fertility, such as fallowing or rotations, are no longer feasible due to the diminishing land holdings.
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