Farming Systems and Soil Management in serenje, Zambia
Chisha, Sikazwe J
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Under increased population pressures, extensive methods of arable cultivation give way to intensive ones. The whole agricultural policy area then becomes central in influencing and further determining production trends and, consequently, the farming system that evolves. In most developing countries, political considerations1dominate agricultural policy. Rarely is sufficient attention given to the efficient use of scarce natural resources, let a'lone to soil conservation measures. This neglect usually leads to lower incentives to producers and to soil problems which reduce yields and could eventually make cultivation uneconomic. Extension methods are often simplistic and crop based, with emphasis on yield maximisation. Resource poor farmers are often neglected by extension services, nor do they benefit from cheap agricultural credit. Whereas the chemical fertility of the soil can easily be restored, the maintenance oC the physical properties of the soil requires continuous careful husbandry and conservation measures. Husbandry practices that maintain maximum plant cover and raise the organic matter content of the soil and thereby improve water and nutrient a v a i l a b i l i t y , are seen as more appropriate than (x) mechanical conservation measures that are costly to construct and maintain. Intercropping and rotations of maize with legumes and other cash crops (each with an attractive incentive) and application of agricultural lime is seen as a way forward in evolving a more sustainable and efficient farming system. This dissertation analyses, within the above framework, the farming system and soil management in Serenje District - Zambia. Whereas most analyses and examples are for Serenje, generalisation could be made for other rural districts of Zambia.
- Agricultural Sciences