Soil Fertility Status of Smallholder Farms in Northern Highlands, Tanzania

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Research Paper 01/03/2021
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Soil Fertility Status of Smallholder Farms in Northern Highlands, Tanzania

Deodatus Stanley Kiriba, Kelvin Mtei, Florian Wichern, Patrick Alois Ndakidemi
Int. J. Biosci.18( 3), 104-119, March 2021.
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Real-time information on soil fertility status is crucial in predicting the decline in soil quality, to help design appropriate management options. This research was undertaken to explore the fertility status of the soils from smallholder farms in northern highlands of Tanzania for sustainable crop production. Thirty-one composite soil samples were collected from different farmers’ fields and analyzed for physical-chemical properties, then used to rate the soil fertility status. Results indicated that the major soil fertility constraints in the Mbulu district were high exchangeable acidity levels in 40% of the farms, low nitrogen and organic carbon in 100% of the farms, low Mg and phosphorous in 66.67%, low calcium (Ca) and zinc (Zn) in 13.33% and 6.67% respectively, and presence of excessive iron and manganese in 100% and 50% of the farms respectively, that would lead to toxicity of crops. Moshi soil was constrained by very high acidity levels (pH<5.0), deficient in exchangeable bases (calcium, magnesium, and potassium), and excessive in exchangeable micronutrients (Zn, Fe, and Cu) which might affect the productivity of various crops cultivated. It is recommended that soil fertility management options should be worked out for specific farms and crops for improved crop production in the northern highlands of Tanzania.


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