Thursday, 25 September 2008

African crop yields benefit from 'pinch' of fertiliser

A technique using small amounts of fertiliser, pioneered by African agricultural scientists, is boosting crop yields in degraded soils.

According to the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), 25,000 farm families in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have significantly improved yields of sorghum, maize and millet by adding just a ''three-finger pinch'' (six grams) of fertiliser when planting seeds or within three weeks of sowing.

This revitalises areas suffering degraded soil and empowers farmers in areas where fertiliser is difficult to obtain or too expensive, says Ramadjita Tabo, ICRISAT's assistant director for West and Central Africa.