Agricultural sector in Sub Saharan Africa has continued to be an essential instrument for sustainable development, rural poverty reduction and a reliable source of self-food sufficiency for the region (World Bank, 2008 and Olawande et al., 2009). However, agricultural productivity in the region has continued to decline over the last decades and poverty levels have increase (Olawande et al., 2009). Currently, agricultural productivity growth in Sub-Saharan Africa lags behind that of other regions in the world, and is well below that required to achieve food security and poverty goals.

Many farmers in the region are facing declining crop yields, which have adverse effects on the region’s economic growth. A prominent constraint to higher productivity among farmers in the region is “soil infertility” related mainly to low nutrient status of the soils and continuous cultivation without planned replenishment of depleted soil nutrients (Wanyama et al., 2009). Increasing agricultural productivity in the Sub Saharan Africa especially in Nigeria is an urgent necessity; and one of the fundamental ways of improving agricultural productivity is through introduction and optimal use of improved agricultural technologies.

Soil infertility; a major problem in agriculture

Also a major problem faced with farmers in Nigeria especially in the erosion prone region of South-West is “land fragmentation”; imposed by increasing population density and urbanization. This has resulted in increasing land use intensification leading to the collapse of the traditional fallow system of cropping, increase soil depletion and low crop yield among farmers. Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO 2005) reports on fertilizer use intensity among Nigerian farmers reveal an increasing fertilizer use rate from 1970 to 1993. The intensity however drops from 11.8Kg/ha in 1995 to 8.90Kg/ha, 9.0Kg/ha and later increased to 13.0Kg/ha in 1996, 2003 and 2009 respectively. The reports further reveal that the fertilizer use rate among farmers in the country was far below the 200 kg/ha recommended by FAO for the sub-Sahara African countries.
In other to make up for the loss of nutrients in the soil, farmers have often used different methods such as crop rotation, manure use and application of fertilizers.

Ondo State like other parts of Nigeria have suffered gross soil nutrient due to continuous cropping, coupled with low soil nutrient levels and poor nutrient conservation practices accentuated by mounting population growth and land scarcity (Ministry of Agriculture Ondo state, 2010).
Fertilizer is one of the most important technologies in increasing food production in the world. Several policy approaches have been used to promote increased use of fertilizer in smallholder farming systems. In Nigeria, these have included the promotion of a state monopoly for fertilizer import and distribution, institution of price controls and subsidies at the fertilizer retail markets, provision of credit to farmers for the purchase of fertilizer, institution of import tariffs, decentralization of procurement and distribution, and deregulation of markets.

Numerous fertilizer regulatory activities concurrently exist in Nigeria. The Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Federal Fertilizer Department (FFD) of FMARD, States Ministries of Agriculture (SMAs) and agricultural research institutes under the national university system are key agencies mandated to participate in fertilizer regulation. Despite these numerous participants, fertilizer quality issues remain a challenge (Liverpool-Tasie et al, 2010). Due to rapid population growth, Africa can no longer be viewed as a land-abundant region where food crop supply could be increased by expansion of land used in agriculture. Large areas in Africa are increasingly becoming marginal for agriculture and arable land has become scarce.


Olawande et al. (2009). A Macro Analysis of Fertilizer Demand in India (1966-67 to 1985– 86). Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics 46 (1): 12–19.

Wanyama et al (2009). Productivity of women farmers in the derived savannah zone of Nigeria: Panacea to food crisis. Journal of Research in Agriculture.Vol. 7 No. 2. Pp.

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