Farmers in Uganda are wrongly applying inorganic fertilizers
which has led to pollution and reduction in crop productivity.
According to Imelda Kanzomba, Principal Agriculture Officer in the agriculture ministry, farmers are
depleting about 1.2 per cent of the soil nutrients annually due to wrong use of
inorganic fertilizers, and account for 26per cent pollution of the atmosphere annually.
Kanzomba says that farmers in Uganda use 24kgs of fertilizers per hectare every year,
leading to a 0.31 per cent decrease in crop productivity. This is results from blighting the leaves and also polluting the water below the plant with excess chemicals.
She recommends that organic manure and inorganic fertilizers should be
used together on farms to complement each other.
For his part, Dickson Kabagambe, Chairman Jinja District Farmers Federation in Jinja says
most farmers use inorganic fertilizers without technical advice and don’t know how to apply them properly for particular crops and in scientific quantities. Kabagambe adds that fallowing is a lost farming practice due to land
fragmentation and the desire to plough the land all the time.
Dr Dick Nuwamanya, President of Uganda National Farmers
Federation (UNAFFE) says most farmers in Uganda lack knowledge in fertilizer
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UNAFFE has close to 3.31 million registered farmers, but less
than one million have trained and acquired certificates in fertilizers
application and crop management in Uganda.
According to David Kureeba, the Officer in Charge of
Biodiversity and Forestry at National Association of Professional
Environmentalists (NAPE), wrong use and dependence on inorganic chemical
fertilizers affect the environment by increasing levels of nitrogen which
traps heat in the atmosphere, thereby causing drought, blights crop leaves and
kills soils organisms necessary for plant growth.
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He said despite Uganda’s soils losing fertility and needing to be replenished,
farmers should opt for land fallowing or use of organic fertilizers, in order to
save soil bacteria. Inorganic
fertilizers like ‘NPK’, Glyphosate and DAP contain chemicals like nitrogen,
potassium and phosphorous which when applied wrongly kill soil organisms and
also, pollute the environment.