An assessment of the use of mineral and organicfertilizers by smallholder farmers in Vhembedistrict, Limpopo province, South Africa.


Jude J.O Odhiambo1* and Vidah N. Magandini

The use of mineral and organic fertilizers as straight fertilizers or in appropriate combinations may alleviate the problem of declining soil fertility and hence lead to increased crop yields. The objectives of this study were to (i) assess the use of mineral and organic fertilizer and (ii) determine the constraints with regards to use of inorganic and organic fertilizers by smallholder farmers in Vhembe district municipality, Limpopo province, South Africa. A survey of 84 randomly sampled farmers was conducted using a standard questionnaire. An interview schedule was the main tool of data collection while descriptive statistics were the main analytical technique. Of the farmers interviewed, 79% accessed information from neighbouring farmers. Only 50% of the farmers had easy access to fertilizers and the fertilizers were always available when needed. However, 75% of the farmers could not afford the required quantities of fertilizers due to limited funds. Up to 97% of the farmers could not access any credit. Over 65% of the farmers knew how and when to apply manure. Manure was affordable and readily available but transportation costs were high. Over 60% of the farmers stored manure in the open leading to significant losses of nutrients. Based on the results of this study, majority of farmers could not afford fertilizers nor access credit facilities. Fertilizer accessibility was still a problem in some areas. Extension services, especially with regards to information on the appropriate use of mineral and organic fertilizers, were not available to most farmers

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