Factors influencing farmers' decisions on integrated soil fertility management practices in Osun State, Nigeria

A.O. Busari, O.C. Nwoke

Abstract



Objectives: Crop yields on farmers' fields in the West African sub-region are often below potential yields due to inherent fertility problems associated with most soils.
Strategies to increase crop yield comprise improved germplasm, nutrient recycling, application of organic and inorganic resources, and knowledge to adapt technologies to prevailing conditions; these are components of Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM). This study assessed factors influencing farmers' soil management practices in relation to ISFM in three agricultural zones of Osun State, Nigeria.
Methods: Data on socioeconomic characteristics, soil management practices, cropping systems, and crop yield were collected with structured interview schedule from 300 household heads in February 2012. Analytical tools included descriptive statistics such as analysis of variance, Pearson correlation coefficient, and multiple regression analysis.
Results: More than 75% of the farmers practice mixed cropping and extensive tillage, and about 70% cultivate their lands manually. Nearly all the farmers (95%) use inorganic fertilizers. Household size (p < 0.05), years of farming experience (p < 0.01), off-farm income (p < 0.01), farm size (p< 0.01), and access to credit (p< 0.01) influence farmers' soil management practices greatly.
Conclusion: Soil fertility management in the area is limited by several factors. Since the influence of access to credit and off-farm income were significant, granting farmers financial assistance might be key to the practice of ISFM. Empowerment of agricultural extension agents to provide farmers with the knowledge to adapt the technologies to local conditions is critical and the creation of an enabling environment to allow farmers practice ISFM is recommended.

Keywords


Organic matter, inorganic fertilizers, soil management, crop production, farm size.

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