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The productivity of soils in smallholder agriculture can be improved by the introduction of short-duration (2-5 years) improved fallows. The availability of land is a constraint, so these improved fallows should be designed so that farmers can derive other benefits over the duration of the fallow phase. The introduction of improved fallow species of Sesbania sesban, Cajanus cajan and a 50:50 mixture of the two species under a maize stand in the first year of fallow establishment had no effect on maize grain yield, neither was the growth of the tree species curtailed. The grain yields of pigeon peas grown alone or under maize were similar but the tree species affected the weight of maize stover. Establishing these tree fallows under annual crops during the first year of fallow establishment may induce farmers to use this approach since they can harvest some grain in one of the years during the fallow phase.
Transactions of the Zimbabwe Scientific Association Volume 72 (Supplement) 1998, pp. 84-87