The Fertile Grounds Initiative: A concerted action for integrated soil fertility management
This article (PDF) in the journal Advances in Plants & Agriculture Research discusses Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) as an approach to alleviate soil fertility constraints. Low soil fertility is one of the main factors causing low agricultural productivity in many developing countries. Despite the introduction, implementation and proof of effectiveness of ISFM as the most appropriate approach to alleviate soil fertility constraints in agriculture soil fertility issues remain a key bottleneck. A key element of ISFM is the integrated use of organic and mineral fertilizers. This study shows that widespread implementation of ISFM is currently hampered by different paradigms (e.g feed the plant versus feed the soil), market mechanisms (e.g. push versus pull) and operational scales (e.g. local scale versus global scale) between actors in the organic and mineral fertilizer sectors. To solve this, implementation of ISFM needs to be facilitated through a platform in which suppliers of organic and mineral fertilizers make arrangements for on-farm application of organomineral fertilizers based on locally available organic sources supplemented with mineral fertilizers. This paper presents the motivation behind two case studies in Ethiopia and concludes that institutional barriers and misconceptions about quantity and quality of compost are currently hampering wide-spread
application of the approach.