Soil fertility in Uganda

In SW Uganda highland banana is a key cash crop and production has been expanding and intensifying over the past 20 years. Soil fertility is becoming a concern more and more. Also because communal lands and land under pasture is both privatized and converted to banana cultivation and thus numbers of cattle and small ruminants have declined and manure is less available to maintain soil fertility.

The richer farmers are importing manure from other areas to counter the scarcity but this is very resource-intensive and therefore not feasible for the majority of farmers. In this context, where bananas farmers have been able to increase their wealth through banana sales and are investing heavily in ‘good’ banana management, it might be expected that chemical fertilizer would be embraced as an alternative to manure and compost for maintaining soil fertility but the contrary is true. There is a strong resentment against use of chemical fertilizer on particularly banana.

This brought us to the following RQs:

How do farmers conceive soil fertility and SFM? Why do they resent chemical fertilizer?"