Soil and Fertilizers: Improving Soil Fertility through Fertilizer Management in Sub Saharan Africa

Attainment of food security remains one of the biggest challenges facing sub Saharan Africa. The continent continues to experience low production as a result of the low and declining soil fertility and land degradation, which have been compounded by unfavorable climatic conditions. Since the 1960s, there have been effort to transform the agricultural sector through promotion of diverse approaches of soil nutrient management. Research has demonstrated the potential and importance of fertilizers to boost food production. Unfortunately, fertilizer use in sub-Saharan Africa is only about one tenth of the world average. There is significant scope for improving productivity through judicious use of fertilizers. The objective of this chapter is to contribute to the debate on the role of fertilizer in improving food production in sub Saharan Africa. The chapter discusses the changes in paradigm in soil fertility management in Africa, the productivity of soils in the continent and the key soil fertility management technologies susceptible of reversing the low food productivity that characterizes smallholder farming systems in Africa. The chapter concludes by presenting new research opportunities for improving soil fertility and boosting food production through sound fertilizer management, and by calling for the need for transformation of the fertilizer sector.
Bationo, A., U. Singh, E. Dossa, J. Wendt, S. Agyin-Birikorang, F. Lompo, and P. Bindraban. 2020. “Improving Soil Fertility through Fertilizer Management in Sub-Saharan Africa,” IN Soil and Fertilizers: Managing the Environmental Footprint, Rattan Lal (Ed.), pp. 67 102, CRC Press.