Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Constraints to Fertilizer Use in Uganda: Insights from Uganda Census of Agriculture 2008/9

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Constraints to Fertilizer Use in Uganda: Insights from Uganda Census of Agriculture 2008/9

Article excerpt


Uganda's agriculture faces numerous challenges, including low productivity due to declining soil fertility. Yet, the majority agricultural households in the country do not use organic and inorganic fertilizers due to not well-known constraints. Using data from the Uganda Census of Agriculture 2008/9, this paper provides insights into these constraints. Results show that most of the farm-households that use inorganic fertilizers also apply organic fertilizers. With regard to factors influencing adoption of fertilizer, lack of knowledge on use of and market information on fertilizer due to limited access to fertilizer-specific extension services is found to be perhaps the most limiting factor irrespective of fertilizer type. Low access to credit and constrained access to input and output markets due to distance are also key constraints to fertilizer use. Household characteristics including education level, household size, share of adults in the household, and ownership of livestock/poultry also stand-out as influencing factors on fertilizer adoption decisions. Results suggest that targeted interventions including extensive and intensive extension training and visits, and access to affordable credit and will be pertinent in the promotion fertilizer use in the country.

Keywords: fertilizer use, constraints, Uganda

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1. Introduction

Food security and nutrition in Uganda remain precarious despite a decade of government interventions - through the Plan for Modernization of Agriculture (PMA) to transform agricultural production from subsistence to modern farming. Ssewanyana and Kasirye (2010) indicate that over two-thirds of the country's population are food insecure, and the number at risk is likely to increase considering the fact that average agricultural production growth for the past five years remains low (about 1.2 percent (%) per annum) compared to 5-year average population growth of about 3.2% per annum. The population of Uganda, estimated at 32.9 million in 2011, is projected to grow to 89 million in 2037 (Population Secretariat, 2010). The rapid population growth in the country has led to unprecedented increase in the demand for land for cultivation, food and wood for energy. This has serious implications on agriculture as well as the environment. Henao and Baanante (2006) indicate that approximately 70% of deforestation in Africa is a result of land clearing for cultivation.

Low productivity, declining soil fertility coupled with low use of improved inputs such as fertilizer, among other factors are cited in the Development Strategy and Investment Plan (2010/11-2014/15) of the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) as one of the key challenges to increasing agricultural output in Uganda (MAAIF, 2010). One way to address the twin problem of low agricultural productivity on one hand and environmental degradation on the other is fertilizer use -both organic and inorganic, especially in low income countries where fertilizer use is lowest (Smaling et al., 2006). Inorganic fertilizer use in grain production, for example, can increase output by 40-60% (Roberts, 2009). Application of organic fertilizer from animal and/or plant residues on the other hand provide some nutrients besides playing a crucial role in improving soil moisture conservation, especially when combined with conservation tillage practices that protect soil structure, reduce erosion and runoff, and promote soil biological functions important for soil productivity (Agwe et al., 2007). Nonetheless, a combination of organic and inorganic fertilizer for integrated soil fertility management is the most ideal in increasing yield while maintaining long term soil fertility (Alley & Vanlauwe, 2009).

Indirectly, use of fertilizers lead to higher economic growth and poverty reduction through increased agricultural productivity and output (Dethier & Effenberger, 2011). …

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