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Friday, February 27, 2015

Can Beans help fill fertilizer’s gap in Africa?


A report published last week February 16, 2015 by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has shown that global use of nitrogen fertilizer is estimated to grow by 1.4 per cent each year to above 119 million tons in 2018, reports NaijaAgroNet.

FAO also said from the same report that less than five per cent of the 119 million tonnes in 2018fertilizer growth will come from Sub-Saharan Africa, mainly because fertilizer is frequently costly for subsistence farmers in the region.

NaijaAgroNet reports that farmers in Africa has been encouraged to plant beans as food and fertilizer as it could help counteract the crash of limited fertilizer take-up across the continent.

The absence of Nitrogen in the soil, in the African region increases the demand of fertilizer which makes the price to be on the high side, which calls for the cultivation of legume crops that add Nitrogen to the soil giving the farmers to harvest both food and fertilizer at a time.

“We want to feed the people and feed the soil” said Ken Giller, a Wageningen University in the Netherlands, who is leading a project called N2Africa that is education subsistence farmers in 13 African countries how to grow Legumes said when growing legumes, such as beans and peas, nitrogen fertilizer is not necessary as the plants grab all the nitrogen they need from the air with the help of bacteria living in their roots. Some of the captured nitrogen also enters the soil through fallen leaves and from decomposing roots.

Chidozie Anibueze/GEE

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