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Thesis topic: What agronomic management practices shape maize yields in Songwe, Tanzania?

Published on
March 24, 2021

Dr. Jens Andersson (PPS-WUR) – jens.andersson@wur.nl

Dr. Renske Hijbeek (PPS-WUR) – renske.hijbeek@wur.nl

Timeline

First half of 2021, timing is flexible

Project summary

Agricultural advisory for smallholder farmers in Africa is currently dominated by blanket fertilizer recommendations for large geographies. Yet, farmers’ management practices, which include, but are not limited to fertilizer supply, are highly diverse and often vary across a farm. Consequently, small-scale producers’ actual fertilizer use is highly variable, as is the efficiency of its use. To achieve higher nutrient use efficiency, fertilization needs to match other agronomic management practices, such as land preparation, variety use, planting methods, weeding, crop protection, etc. What (combinations) of farmers’ current management practices are most effective in enhancing nutrient use efficiency?

In this MSc-thesis project you will explore differences in field-level management (manure/fertilizer/seed use, planting method, timing, weeding frequency, etc.), identify common combinations of management practices, and analyze their effects on reported yields of smallholder maize farmers. You will use data collected with the Maize-Nutrient-Manager (MNM), a mobile phone based advisory tool used by extensionists in southwestern Tanzania in 2019 and 2020. Your findings can directly contribute to the development of new, field-specific advice protocols for inclusion in MNM. 

For this project skills in using R statistics is an asset, these could be developed further within the project.