Comparative evaluation of labour use and profitability of soil fertility replenishment practices in southern Africa uri icon


  • Soil fertility degradation is a major threat to food producti on in sub-Saharan Africa. in response, a number of practices based on bi ological nitrogen fixati on and nutrient cycling principles have been develope d to assist smallholder farm ers improve their soils but, information on the labour use requirements and profitability of these practices has been lacking. This study compared the labour input s and financial profitability of maize production with and without fertilizers, and di fferent agroforestry practices in eastern Zambia. The results did not support the noti on that agroforestry practices are more labour intensive than monoculture maize. With Net Present Value (NPV) ranging between $233 and $309 ha -1 , agroforestry practices were more profitable than de facto farmersâ?? practice (continuous maize production without fertilizer) which yielded an NPV of $130 ha -1 . Although fully fertilized fields was s uperior to agrofore stry practices, the difference in profitabili ty of chemical fertilizer subs idized at 50% over agroforestry practices decreased from 61 to 13%. The re turn to labor per person day was $3.16 in subsidized fertilized fields, $2.56 in non-subsid ized fertilized maize, and between $2.55 and $1.90 for agroforestry practices. The figure in in unfertilized maize fields was $1.10. Price of maize grain, labour wage rate and cost of fertilizer exerted greatest influence on the financial profitability (and hence pot ential adoptability) of land management practices

publication date

  • 2008