Benefits of Integrated Soil Fertility and Water Management in Semi-arid West Africa: An Example Study in Burkina Faso

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The synergistic effect of soil and water conservation (SWC) measures (stone rows or grass strips) and nutrient inputs (organic or mineral nutrient sources) was studied at Saria station, Burkina Faso. The reduction in runoff was 59% in plots with barriers alone, but reached 67% in plots with barriers + mineral N and 84% in plots with barriers + organic N, as compared with the control plots. Plots with no SWC measure lost huge amounts of soil (3 t ha-1 ) and nutrients. Annual losses from eroded sediments and runoff reached 84 kg OC ha-1 , 16.5 kg N ha-1 , 2 kg P ha-1 , and 1.5 kg K ha-1 in the control plots. The application of compost led to the reduction of total soil loss by 52% in plots without barriers and 79% in plots with stone rows as compared to the losses in control plots. SWC measures without N input did not significantly increase sorghum yield. Application of compost or manure in combination with SWC measures increased sorghum grain yield by about 142% compared to a 65% increase due to mineral fertilizers. Yields increase did not cover annual costs of single SWC measures while application of single compost or urea was cost effective. The combination of SWC measures with application of compost resulted in financial gains of 145,000 to 180,000 FCFA ha-1 year-1 under adequate rainfall condition. Without nutrient inputs, SWC measures hardly affected sorghum yields, and without SWC, fertilizer inputs also had little effect. However, combining SWC and nutrient management caused an increase in sorghum yield.
Nutrient intake, Economic benefits, Sorghum
Zougmoré, Robert and Abdoulaye Mando. 2008. “Benefits of Integrated Soil Fertility and Water Management in Semi-Arid West Africa: An Example Study in Burkina Faso,” Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 88:17-27.