Analysis of nutrient composition of small-holder farmers’ compost in semi-arid areas of Africa: A case study of Tigray region, northern Ethiopia

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Kassa Teka

Abstract

This study aimed at exploring the plant nutritive composition of small holder farmer’s compost, proportion of composting materials and the actual compost production level in the semi-arid areas of Africa inTigray region, northern Ethiopia. Compost samples were taken from 354 farming households. Our findings indicated that compost production volume ranged from 3.8 to 11 m3. Nine composting materials were commonly used in the region in which livestock manure (28%) takes the highest share. The produced composts had a basic pH with an unacceptable range (>8.4) for plant growth in about one third of the study area. The salinity level (4.2–8.2 mS/cm) was also categorized in the high level category. Nevertheless, the organic carbon (2.5–6.4%), available phosphorus (333-737 ppm) and total nitrogen (0.3–1.0%) contents were classified in the low level category. In general, the farmers’ composts in the region had lower plant nutrient content to sustain soil productivity and crop production. Hence, integration of research-policy-extension is needed to work on approaches which can improve compost quality.
Key words: compost, nutrient, cluster, composting materials, blended fertilizer, Tigray

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