Farmers' Taxonomies as a Participatory Diagnostic Tool: Soil Fertility Management in Chihota, Zimbabwe

Soil infertility is a major constraint to food production in the communal areas of Zimbabwe. Smallholders in the region recognize the problems of low soil fertility and have devised ways of coping with them. This study describes the use of farmers' taxonomies of themselves and their soils to identify and understand the options they have, and the constraints they face in managing poor soil fertility in Chihota, a sub-humid communal area of north central Zimbabwe. It is part of an effort by a group of agricultural researchers and extensionists working on improved soil fertility technologies, to better integrate their work with farmers in order to expose the latter to promising technologies, get feedback on the technologies merits and feasibility, and help farmers experiment with them. The results show that these farmers have relatively sophisticated taxonomies, which provide a good picture of the resources, constraints, and concerns they have about soil infertility and ways to manage it. The taxonomies are an important framework for integration of technical interventions with farmers' requirements, systems, and circumstances.

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Economics Working Paper 99-13

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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