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Household Fertilizers Use and Soil Fertility Management Practices in Vegetable Crops Production: The Case of Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia

E Etissa, N Dechassa, T Alamirew, Y Alemayehu, L Desalegne

Abstract


Large areas of farms are covered by variety of vegetable crops in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia. With a view to improve current vegetable production fertilizer use efficiency, survey has been conducted through collections of baseline information to describe household fertilizer uses and soil fertility management in vegetable production system using descriptive statistics. Multistage samplings were made to select  representative growers in the six districts of East Showa zone. Based on field observations and group discussions, vegetable growers grouped their farm land into four local categories. The survey revealed that tomato growers apply variable rates of urea and DAP fertilizers for tomato cultivation. Survey results indicated that highest 43.61% of onion growers apply 200 kg of DAP fertilizer on their onion field, while 30.85% of growers apply 300 kg DAP per ha, another 39.35% apply, 400 kg and above DAP
fertilizer, still 8.5% of onion growers apply 600 kg DAP fertilizer on their onion farm. This survey indicated that fertilizers were not wisely used in the vegetable crops production systems and the applications are in excess rate, which could leads to pollution of the environment from over dose application and from runoff in to the water bodies and leaching in to the ground water with economic loss. Most of the tomato and onion growers use three splits application of UREA and DAP mainly at transplanting, at first and second cultivation for both crops as top-dressing. The survey results indicated that 54.44% of onion growers apply an average of 230.35 kg ha-1 DAP at transplanting, while 46.53% apply an average of 188.29
kg ha-1 DAP at second split application, and finally 17.82% apply an  average of 119.44 kg ha-1 DAP at last third split applications. This is the first document come across that vegetable growers in the CRV area apply DAP fertilizer as much as three splits. This indicates that there are no  systems of updating of frontline development workers; poor extension services with shallow development workers knowledge made the growers totally depend on their own innovations for vegetable production.



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