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Higher Maize Yields: A guide for good agronomic practices

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Designed for use by extension workers and other practitioners within sub-Sharan Africa, this booklet is a compact and easy-to-read field guide for teaching practical maize production concepts within smallholders production systems. 

The booklet’s contents cover aspects of land preparation, seed selection and seeding rate, fertilizer application, use of manure and other organic resources, maize crop management, and harvest and post-harvest management issues.

Soil Fertility Management Book of Abstracts for Kenya

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In a bid to address this, through funding from AGRA the APNI (previously IPNI) and Kenya Agricultural Research Organization (KALRO) (Previously KARI) compiled a database of abstracts for research work conducted in Kenya, over the period 1925 to 2014. The year 1925, was taken as base year because, the is the year when structured agricultural research was started in Kenya. Through use of library catalogues, records of funded agricultural projects, university thesis records, donor reports, government reports, archives, consultation with scientists from NARS, CGIAR and universities and online journal search with relevant keywords, the resource book of abstracts titled:  Soil Fertility Management Book of Abstract for Kenya was developed.

Costly duplication of research efforts can be avoided by reference to materials from this information resource. This book will be a valuable resource for governments, donors, researchers, tutors and students. The scope of the book is wide, but the main thrust of soil health research has been identified. The content is organized in chapters: Inorganic fertilizers, Organic fertilizers, Organic and inorganic fertilizer combinations, Beneficial Microbes, Cropping systems and modelling, Soil and water management, Analytical methods and Socio-economics. It may not be exhaustive of all the work done during the stated period but at least it provides significant information about most of the work that has been done in Kenya.

This work was accomplished through a AGRA grant to IPNI. The grant number 2012 SHP 017. The project was implemented through 8 country level consortia; namely the Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and Ethiopia Soil health consortia.

More information …

Agriculture is the backbone of Kenya’s economy directly contributing 26% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually and indirectly 27%. In Kenya, the agriculture-led growth is estimated to be more than twice more effective in reducing poverty compared to growth led by industry. Further estimates have shown that a 1% increase in the sector results in a corresponding 1.6% GDP growth in the overall economy. In spite of continued efforts by the government and other stakeholders to grow agriculture, the sector has continued to decline. Several factors have continued to drive the decline and continued sub optimal impact of investments on agricultural growth. Key among these factors, is continued investment in duplicate research and minimal leverage between past research and present research. The main cause of this duplication and limited leverage is lack of a database/knowledge of what has already been done and the existing knowledge gaps.

 

The Integrated Soil Fertility Management Book of Abstracts for Malawi

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In a bid, to improve access to existing knowledge on effective use of ISFM technologies, the Malawi soil health consortium, through support of APNI staff (previously IPNI), compiled databases and abstracts for most of ISFM work that had been done in Malawi by December 2014. Through use of library catalogues, records of funded agricultural projects, university thesis records, donor reports, government reports, archives, consultation with scientists from NARS, CGIAR and universities and online journal search with relevant keywords, the Integrated Soil Fertility Management Book of Abstracts for Malawi was developed.

The content is organized in 12 chapters: soil fertility status, the use of organic fertilizers, the use of in organic fertilizers, the combined use of organic and inorganic fertilizers, liming and application of phosphate rock, legumes and ISFM technologies, conservation agriculture, agroforestry, legumes-cereal rotation/inter-cropping, tillage and irrigation, dissertation and thesis.  We acknowledge that this may not be exhaustive of all the ISFM work done in Malawi but this book of abstracts provides significant information about most of the ISFM work done.

This work was accomplished through a AGRA grant to IPNI. The grant number 2012 SHP 017. The project was implemented through 8 country level consortia; namely the Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and Ethiopia Soil health consortia.

More background…

The Malawi economy is driven predominantly by the agricultural sector that accounts for one third of the GDP and nearly 80% of employment. Malawi remains among the five poorest countries in the world, with over 50% of the population living below the poverty line. Poor soil fertility and nutrient depletion continue to represent huge obstacles to securing needed crop harvests. The yield gaps for cereals and legumes are estimated at more than 60%. Years of research have recommended Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) as the key entry point for doubling and tripling the usually low crop yields in Malawi.  ISFM is the application of soil fertility management practices, and the knowledge to adapt them to local conditions, which maximize fertilizer and organic resource use efficiency and crop productivity. These practices necessarily include appropriate fertilizer and organic input management in combination with the utilization of improved germplasm.

A large number of technologies and combination of technologies have been classified as ISFM with varying range of benefits and conditions under which they work best. For example, whereas application of nitrogen (N) as mineral fertilizer results in better cereal yield than the same amount of N applied as organic inputs, when the two materials are applied together, the positive interactions have often led to significantly higher yield than any of the two nutrient sources applied separately. Often, the wide, range of issues that affect the effectiveness, ease of use and adaptation of the wide range of ISFM technologies confuse the stakeholders leading to limited adoption of ISFM technologies. Key among factors that lead to poor use and appreciation of ISFM is limited access to the ISFM knowledge that is generated by the research system. Such, knowledge, can only be found in bits and pieces in different institutions and not in a consolidated manner to ease comparison and informed decision making.

Essentials: Phosphorus

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Part of an expanding series, these two-page fact sheets are filled with the information on the essential plant nutrients including their roles and requirements in plants, behaviour in soil, deficiency symptoms, and use in the African context.   

Essentials: Potassium

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Part of an expanding series, these two-page fact sheets are filled with the information on the essential plant nutrients including their roles and requirements in plants, behaviour in soil, deficiency symptoms, and use in the African context.   

Webinar: Crop Nutrition in Perennial Crops: Potential and Risks.

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Speaker: Dr. Thomas Oberthür
Duration: ~2 hrs

As part of the 2020 ESAFE seminar series held in partnership with OCP AFRICA and RUFORUM Network, Dr. Thomas Oberthür, APNI Director of Business and Partnership Development, discusses Crop Nutrition in Perennial Crops: Potential and Risks.

Webinar: Plant Nutrition Strategies for Climate Change Adaptation in Africa

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Speaker: Dr. Kokou Amouzou
Duration: ~2 hrs

As part of the 2020 ESAFE seminar series held in partnership with OCP AFRICA and RUFORUM Network, Dr. Koukou Amouzou, APNI Program Coordinator for West Africa, discusses Plant Nutrition Strategies for Climate Change Adaptation in Africa.

Webinar: Spatio-temporal patterns in maize nutrient responses in sub-saharan africa.

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Speaker: Dr. Shamie Zingore 
Duration: ~2 hrs

As part of the 2020 ESAFE seminar series held in partnership with OCP AFRICA and RUFORUM Network, Dr. Shamie Zingore, APNI Director of Research, discusses Spatio-Temporal patterns in maize nutrient responses in Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

Webinar: Tailoring Nutrition Management for Conservation Agriculture in Africa

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Speaker: Dr. Hakim Boulal

Duration: ~1.5 hrs

As part of the 2020 ESAFE seminar series held in partnership with OCP AFRICA and RUFORUM Network, Dr. Hakim Boulal, APNI Program Manager for North Africa, discusses Tailoring Nutrition Management for Conservation Agriculture in Africa.

Crop Scout Pocket Guide: Maize

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Designed to be a compact, hands-on, field-ready resource to help agronomists, extension agents, and farmers recognize common symptoms of maize nutrient deficiency and other growth disorders while scouting fields.

Nutrient Deficiency Symptoms: Banana

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This quick reference poster displays and describes nutrient deficiency symptoms as they commonly appear on the leaves of banana plants.

The images on this poster are a result of a collaborative effort between Dr. Dharma Pitchay (dpitchay@tnstate.edu) of Tennessee State University and the African Plant Nutrition Institute.

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