Aims: To evaluate the feasibility of sack potato production in some parts of Zimbabwe. Study Design: The study utilised two instruments for data collection, namely questionnaires and structured interviews. Methodology: The first questionnaire for the producers of sack potato was distributed to fifty respondents. It enquired about personal information, inputs and adherence to best practices, technicalities, viability and sustainability of the technique. Another questionnaire reaching twenty respondents targeting consumers, was also effected focusing on product quality, acceptability and consumer perspective of sack potatoes. Data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS. 16). Place and Duration of the Study: Data was collected in parts of Harare and surrounding areas for a duration of six months. Results: Most respondents were in the age range, 25-55 years, which is the most economically active group in the farming industry in Zimbabwe. Low yields were cited by 25% of respondents as a major limitation encountered with sack potatoes. These low yields were reportedly a result of lack of technical knowledge by 16.7% of the sample as most of them were new to the field. Another 16.7% reported labour problems especially in filling the sacks while some observed land degradation, 8.3%, when soil was collected in the forests for sale to potato producers and yet some experienced water shortages, 8.3%. Other limitations identified were high soil media costs as well as lack of access to the right type of soil by 8.3% of the sample, while 8.3% reported that the bucket system of watering was strenuous. Another 8.3% especially those at early stages of planting reported that there were no problems at all with the technique. Conclusions: Sack potato production in Zimbabwe may still require more research before full implementation. The feasibility of large scale commercial production and the optimum size of the sack or container also needs investigation so as to avoid unnecessary wastage of resources. There might be cases of misrepresentation of potential yield performance of sack potatoes in Zimbabwe.
Aims: This paper discusses some interventions that could lead to wise use of forest resources as a step towards sustainable agriculture. Forest resources provide various materials that meet the basic human needs such as food and health-care. However, the use of these resources and the manners of their removal from the forest has been a serious problem when considering sustainability in agriculture. Over-exploitation hampered sustainability and efficient utilization of forest resources would lead to sustainable resource use in forest management and agricultural production. The result would lead to constant supply of needed resources. Conclusion: Forest resources therefore must be conserved and utilized wisely in order to attain sustainability in agriculture.
Aims: The study aimed at estimating economic losses incurred by farmers from damage of rice crop by graniviorous pest birds and assessing the implication of this for sustainable food security.
Study Design: Line transect bird sampling with spatial and temporal replications; bird feeding rate determination; per-season and per annum economic valuation of rice damage Place and Duration of Study: Ahero Rice Irrigation Scheme in western Kenya from November 2011 to February 2012. Methodology: To estimate economic losses of rice we first estimated graniviorous bird density from two census periods from whence we estimated seasonal and annual quantities of rice loss calculated from the birds’ feeding rates. We then valued economic damage as a factor of the crop loss and prevailing rice producer market price and finally estimated net economic loss by subtracting the cost of hiring labour to scare birds from damaging mature crop. Period of bird damage was restricted to the period between crop-maturity to harvest. Results: Estimated annual loss was 407 tonnes or 7.7% of potential yield for the whole irrigation scheme excluding bird scaring costs. This was equivalent to Ksh. 40.7 million annually at 1 USD=87 Ksh. representing a 31.1% loss of net income. Inclusive of bird scaring costs, annual losses were Ksh. 20,763/ha equivalent to 39.5% of net income. Estimated annual rice damage due to Q. quelea was more than that due to the other granivorous birds combined (215 compared to 192 tonnes). Conclusion: This loss magnitude considerably undermines efforts to reduce rural poverty and attain sustainable food security. In addition to the crop-guarding method, reducing losses from damage by the pest birds requires integration of several measures that have proved successful elsewhere, adoption of improved farming technologies and planting recently developed higher- yielding rice varieties.
Achieving food security for a rapidly growing population in Nigeria will require intensification of food production on existing cropland through improving soil fertility and agronomic practices. Use of chemical fertilizers has been attributing factor for the deterioration of soil and water resources and the environment as a whole. In an attempt to improve the fertility of the soil and crop yield with economically viable, environmental friendly and sound and socially accepted farm practice, a study was conducted to evaluate sole organo-minerals, inorganic fertilizer and their mixtures on the soil chemical improvement and leaf yield of fluted pumpkin in an ultisol of Southeastern Nigeria. Six treatments including the control (10 tons/ha of poultry dropping, 10 tons/ha of rice husk, 0.375 tones/ha of NPK fertilizer, 5 tons/ha of poultry dropping +5 tons/ha of rice husk, 5tons/ha of rice husk +0.188 ton/ha of NPK fertilizer, control) were built into a randomized complete block design (RCBD) replicated three times. The results showed that the amendments significantly (p<0.05) improved the soil pH, organic carbon, exchangeable calcium and magnesium within the period of study. The results indicated that the CEC, available phosphorous and base saturation were positively (p<0.05) improved by the soil amendments, while the exchangeable acidity was highly reduced significantly by the application of the amendments. The results revealed also the better performance of organic sources over the inorganic in improving most soil chemical properties and the crop leaf yield of fluted pumpkin.
A study was carried out in two villages of Mughunga and Pohama in Singida Rural District, central Tanzania, to assess the economic value of agricultural land for community livelihoods within the context of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). Market price valuation method was used to assess the economic value of agricultural land. Findings showed that a good number of people in both villages depend on agriculture (96.4%) and livestock keeping (90.1%) for their livelihoods. The economic value of agriculture land was revealed to be 35,871,750 and 49,259,382Tsh per acre for Mughunga and Pohama villages respectively, with high contribution from sunflower, followed by sorghum and maize crops. The study results revealed lower economic value, mainly of food crops such as maize and bulrush millet. This implicates changes in the agricultural land as these crops were valued high in the past. The major reasons for such changes include decline in agricultural production and increased pressure for land resources. For sustainability of agricultural land in the study area, efforts need to be scaled up towards conservation of agricultural land by all parties, that is, communities, government and private entities.