Programme mission: To generate and promote tools, methods, practices and technologies for improved soil fertility and water management, sustainable land use and resilience to climate change
Declining soil fertility and increased land degradation continue to devastate the land on which the poor depend and threaten food security for the smallholder farmers. These two problems are considered biggest threats to long term food security and environmental sustainability in Uganda. This situation is exacerbated by the fact low use of external sources of nutrients either organic or inorganic fertilizers, poor soil management which has resulted to accelerated soil erosion and subsequent soil mining i.e. the soils are losing more nutrients than added by farmers. This is made worse by the country having the fastest growing population in the world and the most severe soil nutrient depletion rates in Africa. Up to 12% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is lost through environmental degradation, with 85% of this from a combined effect of soil erosion, nutrient loss and decline in crop yield. On-going projects to address these problems will include:
Specific expected outputs:
Land suitability maps in digital format and detailed scale for use by the national and international community
· Area specific fertilizer recommendation within in an ISFM framework
· Recommended combination of organic and inorganic sources of nutrients
· Rhizobia, Mycorrhizae and azolla-symbiotic systems for improved productivity.
· Information on climate risks, opportunities, climate changes and future trends;
· Climate change adaptation and mitigation technologies
· Early warning systems
· Information on carbon sequestration
· established optimum seed rates ( maize and beans) for the newly introduced tillage methods ( permanent planting basins and rip lines) in order to realize their full productivity potential
· Assessed hardpan coverage and properties in Nakasongola District using GIS methods (187 km2 (11%) out of 1,741 km2 of arable land was bare ground due to extreme cases of soil compaction)
· Six major topographic map sheets that cover mainland Masaka and Kampala sheets have been surveyed
· A conceptual design of the database to integrate old and new soils data has been developed and is ready for population
· Excellent agronomic responses to fertilizer have been demonstrated and reported for finger millet and upland rice at NARL - Kawanda and Tororo, Pallissa, and Apac located in the Lake Victoria Crescent, South Lake Kyoga Basin and Northern Moist Farmlands Agro-ecological Zones, respectively
· The B/C for all strategies are above 1 implying that the returns to application of these strategies are sufficient for the farmer to get back the money he invested in the strategies practices to be profitable. However the B/C ratio of 2 is the recommended ratio for technology adoption by farmers.
· Research quantified volume of soil sediment (soil lost) and runoff volume in Ntungamo and Sembabule districts and recommended the use of a combination of manure and mulch to reduce soil, water and nutrient loss
· Built resilience of communities (parish) at Mijwara Subcounty in Sembabule district through harvesting surface run-off water.
· Produced a Fertilizer Optimization Tool (FOT) for use by extension agents and other front line staff to advise farmers on the most profitable fertilizer recommendations.
· The FOT migrated into a mobile App
· Soil erosion rates were quantified in major land use practices and the monetary loss due to soil and nutrient loss quantified. This information has been used to upscale sustainable land management practices in different areas using a community approach.
· Soil moisture conservation benefits associated with use of calcium bentonite and the resulting increase in crop yields, have been demonstrated in Nakasongola, Ngora and Katakwi districts. This could present a promising technology for amelioration of sandy soils found in drought stricken areas.
To be a centre of excellence generating and promoting appropriate agricultural technologies
To generate and promote agricultural technologies and improve productivity, value addition, income and food security