A review of soil fertility management and crop response to fertilizer application in Ethiopia
This report (PDF) by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) reviews the response of crops to organic and inorganic fertilizer applications in Ethiopia. Results show that the productivity of major crops has increased steadily over the last two decades. The yield increase is strongly correlated with increased use of mineral fertilizers, particularly nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). However, a high degree of variability exists in crop response to nutrients and amendments in major cereal growing areas in Ethiopia. This is mainly associated with variability in landscape positions, agroecologies, soil characteristics and management practices. Some recommendations are given for the crops wheat, barley and maize for different soils. Despite the ongoing efforts to improve fertilizer recommendation and use through developing soil fertility maps, including for micronutrients, the fertilizer recommendations have not been adequately updated or cover mainly N and P. Further research is thus needed to further establish crop response patterns and underlying characteristics, and to define the extent of potassium (K), and sulfur (S) and micronutrient elements limitations to crop production in various farming systems, landscape positions and soil types. Although inputs organic and mineral fertilizers are the major factors affecting crop productivity in the country, integrated soil fertility management is becoming an important strategy to adapt. However, its implementation demands the deliberate integration of various soil fertility management interventions and the introduction of incentives for farmers to adopt and implement these strategies.