Biological and economic evaluation of maize-based cropping systems for Nigerian smallholders

by Akim Tunde Omokanye

Institution: University of Western Sydney
Degree: PhD
Year: 0
Keywords: crop rotation; rural land use in Nigeria; economic aspects
Record ID: 1034917
Full text PDF: http://handle.uws.edu.au:8081/1959.7/797


Indigenous African shifting cultivation production systems, that were developed over many generations and took into account production potential as well as the constraints imposed by natural resources, are no longer practicable for Nigerian smallholder farmers. These systems relied on long fallow for fertility restoration after a period of cropping. Overpopulation has resulted in lower per capita land availability, necessitating a shift to sedentary cultivation systems. In such systems, fallow is short term (months) compared to shifting systems, where it lasted several years. This shift has resulted in overexploitation of land resources and despite intensification of agricultural production methods, non-sustainable demand on the natural resource base has increased and crop and animal production has declined. This study examined the performance of five maize-based cropping systems consisting of cereal-legume, cereal-cereal and cereal bare fallow rotations, to identify systems that have potential for increased agricultural production in the subhumid and mid-altitude zones of Nigeria. The study was conducted at Richmond, near Sydney, in NSW, Australia from 2000 to 2003. The trial investigated the effects of the combined use of legumes and N fertilizer in CSs to maintain or improve soil fertility, maize crop and maize storage silage production and yield and quality of all crop residues. This study showed that inclusion of a legume in the rotation is an important production and income generating strategy. Owing to their potential for increased maize productivity, to build up N-rich systems and to improve small holder levels of farm income, cropping systems with legumes should therefore be given more research attention in Nigeria Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)