Blended fertilizer recommendation issues

Contributed by Mulugeta Diro(PhD)

BENEFIT- CASCAPE together with Soil Fertility Director of MoANR organized soil fertility platform meeting. The platform meeting was conducted on October 17, 2017 at Executive hotel, Adama. After involved in sites and crop specific blended fertilizer recommendation , BENEFIT-CASCAPE commissioned  a study to understand issues and constraints related to blend fertilizer recommendation and this meeting was organized to share and discusses the findings of the study to stakeholders.

Results of the study on issues and constraints related to blend fertilizer recommendation was presented to plenary by BENEFIT-CASCAPE and several questions and comments were raised and discussed. During the discussion time the main issued discussed and emphasesed was about the ‘critical value’ approach currently being adopted  which was found mainly misleading after soil test result in some areas. Large areas of the Ethiopian highlands are  labelled deficient of some major nutrients such as potassium and Boron, which is not consistent with soil test results conductd by BENEFIT-CASCAPE programme. In addition, blend fertilizer recommendations are still blanket and needs to be refined. Validation of critical levels is needed specific to crop type based on crop response trials and plant tissue analysis.

During the meeting it was agreed that have further discussion among relevant stakeholders on issues and constraints related to blend fertilizer recommendation. As a result, Soil Fertility Directorate of MoANR agreed to establish a taskforce to have such discussion.

Over 70 participants drawn from agricultural research institutes (EIAR & RARIs), MoANR, CGIAR, NGOs and private consultants participated in the platform meeting.