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Volume IX |

Assessment of Soil Fertility Management Practices and Their Constraints in Different Geographic Locations of Nepal

Abstract: A farmers’ field survey was conducted in 2009 to evaluate soil fertility management practices and their constraints in certain hill and valley farming systems of Nepal. Thirty households from Okharpouwa village development committee (VDC), Nuwakot and thirty households from Fulbari VDC, Chitwan districts were surveyed using semi-structured questionnaires. In addition, key informants’ interview, checklist survey, observation in the field and documentation of the individual cases were carried out during this research. The study revealed that farm yard manure (FYM) was the major source of nutrients, although the use of poultry manure, goat manure, green manure and chemical fertilizers was also common. We realized that the management of FYM and that of other types of organic manure in the manure pit and in the field was not efficient in conserving nutrients. Similarly, farmers preferred the continuous cultivation of cereal or commercial crops, without mixing the crops or rotating with legumes, the sliced terrace risers in hills, which constrained better production in hills and valleys of Nepal. The specific problems in hills included erosion and leaching of nutrients, soil acidification, while those of valley lands included the imbalanced use of fertilizers, intensive cropping, and crop failure due to improper management.

Volume VIII |

Soil Quality Cards for Participatory Soil Quality Assessment in Organic and Smallholder Agriculture

Abstract: Healthy soil is the basis of high quality food production. Increased awareness toward safe and healthy environment further aggravated the significance of soil quality evaluation and adoption of rational management practices. Evaluation of soil quality is crucial but expensive task for organic growers and smallholder agriculture. Participatory approach in soil quality assessment, thus, can serve the purpose of soil quality assurance for quality production. Physical, chemical and biological soil quality parameters are identified through participatory discussion and they are integrated in a way familiar to farmers. Farmers evaluate their farm soils based on their existing knowledge, agro-ecological condition and farming system of the area. This approach bridges farmers’ ideas with scientific facts with minimum financial investment. Initiatives have already been taken in this line, however, strengthening and institutionalization of the process is needed to replicate this practical technique. Preliminary work in Baccheuli, Chitwan, Nepal indicated the approach as practical, easy, cost effective and convincing to farmers. Moreover, this enhanced confidence to farmers of their soil quality and supported for further strengthening of organic and smallholder agriculture in Nepal.