Soil Degradation

Small scale farmers use the same farmland in the long term without soil fertility amendments. Land is ploughed in dry season which makes it prone to wind erosion, shifting cultivation is practiced but due to population increase, the practice is now limited. The use of these primitive farming practices coupled with climate change has contributed to low food production and severe food insecurity in the target project area. It is proved that conventional farming practices, including frequent ploughing of land gradually degrade the soil physical structure, cause soil compaction, accelerate soil erosion and decrease the biological diversity of soils fauna. Soil health is a prerequisite to sustainable crop production and small-scale famers must understand the composition of soil and cycle of nutrients in the farmland to thrive under the recurrent climatic shocks. The ploughing land by using moldboard or disc plough has caused severe soil degradation, and most of fertile topsoil in the cultivated land has been eroding through wind or water. The organic matter in the soil has extremely reduced to a level where the biological activities below the soil surfaces cannot support the natural nutrient cycle in farm ecosystem and sometimes the farmers abandon their field due to low soil fertility and low yield. Therefore, the project aims at addressing the soil fertility problem and increase diversification of cultivated crops in the project target areas by improving the knowledge of farmers on good agricultural practices and natural resource conservation to enhance the ecological farming system of agro-pastoral and riverine communities in the district. The project trained farmers on good agronomic practices, including; reduced tillage, pit planting, composting and ecosystem restoration, which makes the land suitable for the agro-pastoral communities in order to enable the farmers secure their food and become resilient to climate shocks.