Diagnosing Soil Degradation and Fertilizer Use Relationship for Sustainable Cotton Production in Benin
Barthelemy G. Honfoga
In Benin and many other cotton-producing countries of West Africa, unsustainable natural resource management is hindering agricultural growth, food security, and poverty reduction. This study addressed the sustainability of fertilizerbased soil fertility management practices in Benin. It diagnosed the relationship between differential soil degradation status over space and fertilizer use in cotton production systems. Referring to sound land use principles, it found that present fertilizer use practices overlook the spatial differences in soil fertility status in exportoriented cotton production systems. Considering more relevant short-run fertilizer needs based on desirable fertilizer doses, the potentials for sustainable fertilizer use were then assessed considering the likelihood of change towards best practices of integrated soil fertility management. More rational fertilizer use practices will be critical in the future to inducing higher cotton yields while preserving the environment. Adjusting current fertilizer recommendations to site-specific soil conditions is urgently required to enhance the sustainability of cotton production systems in Benin. Fertilizer policies will need to rely on updated information on soil and land use dynamics, and be innovative enough to induce a steady increase in agricultural productivity and improved net incomes cotton growers.
Degradation, Agricultural development, Soil fertility, Production diversification
Honfoga, B.G. 2018. “Diagnosing Soil Degradation and Fertilizer Use Relationship for Sustainable Cotton Production in Benin,” Cogent Environmental Science, 4:1422366, https://doi.org/10.1 080/23311843.2017.1422366.