Addressing the Soil Infertility Conundrum through Agroforestry: Empirical Evidence from Cameroon

The fertility of the soil has a big impact on agricultural productivity. However, soil infertility has become a global trend in recent years, owing primarily to climate change and poor agricultural practises. Soil infertility is a key stumbling obstacle to agricultural expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa in general, and Cameroon in particular. This study was conducted out against this backdrop to determine the effect of agroforestry in improving soil fertility in agricultural systems in south western Cameroon. Both biophysical and socioeconomic data were collected and analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics in Excel 2013 and SPSS 17.0. The biggest limits to crop yield, according to the findings, were a lack of access to improved planting materials (100 percent) and little or no control over stress factors such as soil fertility (100 percent ). Farmers used a variety of agrochemicals, the most frequent of which were insecticides and fungicides. Farmers utilised three primary agroforestry systems: agrosilvicultural (93 percent), agrosilvopastoral (70 percent), and silvopastoral (31 percent). Farmers recognised crop production declines (100 percent), tuber rotting (100 percent), and crop stem wilting as the most common symptoms of soil infertility (100 percent ). Agro-chemicals, fowl droppings, enhanced planting seeds, erosion-control farming, horizontal bunds or ridges on steep terrain, and agroforestry were the most popular strategies employed to combat soil infertility. The main effects of soil infertility on farmers were feeding issues, difficulties attending to children’s and family’s social requirements, and financial challenges. High input prices, low farm produce prices, poor seeds/planting materials, and lousy roads heightened farmers’ sensitivity to the negative consequences of soil infertility. Farmers concerned with soil infertility used live fences and scattered trees on croplands as the two most frequent agroforestry approaches. The diverse nature of the tree species found in the system, as well as the dispersed nature of the trees across the entire farmland, showed that scattered trees on croplands contributed more to improving soil fertility. This could be attributed to the diverse nature of the tree species found in the system and the dispersed nature of the trees across the entire farmland. Based on these findings, we advocate that more farmers adopt the practise of scattering trees on croplands to boost their farmland fertility. Policymakers should also implement favourable policies that promote the use of agroforestry.

Author(S) Details

Azembouh Roshinus Tsufac
Department of Forestry, Faculty of Agronomy and Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 222, Dschang; University of Dschang, Cameroon.

Nyong Princely Awazi
Department of Forestry and Wildlife Technology, College of Technology, The University of Bamenda, Cameroon.

Martin Ngankam Tchamba
Department of Forestry, Faculty of Agronomy and Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 222, Dschang; University of Dschang, Cameroon.

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