Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region in the world where maize yields have annually increased by only 1.2% since the 1960s. The yield gap in smallholder rain-fed maize production is driven by soil degradation, declining soil fertility, limited use of fertilizers, climatic variability and change and the consequent rise in abiotic and biotic stresses. Reduction of the yield gap requires socially and environmentally responsible intensification through appropriate soil management practices. Integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) has been proposed to increase yield, however, its potential as a climate-smart intensification option remains uncertain. A wide scale adoption of ISFM practices by smallholder farmers requires an assessment across all possible combinations of soils, climates and socio-economic typologies representative for Kenya and Uganda.
The project will assess the biophysical and socio-economic potential of various ISFM practices to increase maize yield, enhance soil fertility, mitigate climate change and improve livelihoods from local to national scales. This work also aims at identifying localized climate change adaptation potentials of ISFM practices compared to conventional management practices under future climate scenarios.
• In Kenya and Uganda: This study will allow development of ISFM guidelines for smallholder farmers based on local biophysical and socio-economic conditions. The locally optimized ISFM will increase and stabilize the maize production and decrease the need for further agriculture land extensification. Hence, the results will have direct implications for the resilience of maize cropping systems and food security.
• In Switzerland: The project will advance our fundamental knowledge of agroecosystem functioning under agroecological practices, such as ISFM, and particularly the potential of agroecological practices to mitigate and adapt to climate change from local to national scales.
Partner countries: Kenya, Uganda
Cost: CHF 3 Mio
Duration: 4 years