Enhancing Rice Markets in Uganda through Smart Micronutrient Fertilization (ENRICH)
Aim: Rice is an important crop with rapidly growing demand in Uganda. 90% of the increased production resulted from land expansion, while yields remained stagnant. Fertilizers are barely used and yield responses to conventional NPK-fertilizers are poor. On-farm trials reveal that addition of micronutrients to NPK significantly increases yields. The benefits from adding micronutrients include increased yield, improved grain quality, increased uptake efficiency of NPK-fertilizers and increased economic returns. These mutually reinforcing benefits may incentivise farmers to buy and use fertilizers. Yet, uptake efficiency of soil applied micronutrients is low. Innovations in nutrient packaging and delivery mechanisms are needed. Foliar application and nano-packaging both show promising potential to increase plant uptake. The aim of this project is to fine-tune the composition of micronutrients required and their mode of application to realize multiple benefits.
Objective: The main objective of this project is to increase food security and income of smallholder farmers producing lowland rice with the main objective to significantly increase the productivity of lowland rice in Eastern and Northern Uganda. Specific objectives are:
- Understand the current situation and rice fertility challenges in the region.
- Evaluate and identify the appropriate composition and mode of application of micronutrients (SmartFert) for optimum yield of lowland rice.
- Integrate and out scale SmartFert into ongoing development programs and production practices, and support institutional and research capacity for rice sector development.
Method: Findings of the project will be disseminated throughout the value chain, and policymakers will be informed to be able to create an enabling environment for further development.
Dutch policy goals: Increased sustainable agricultural production; and Improved access to better nutrition.
Duration: January 2016 – January 2019