Integrated Plant Nutrition Management: A Panacea for Sustainable Crop Production in Nigeria
This study reviews the need for Integrated Plant Nutrition Management (IPNM) around the efficient use of combining locally available and environmentally feasible agro-wastes with low level of mineral fertilizers for soil fertility maintenance and crop production in Nigeria. Integrated application of combined agro-wastes and mineral fertilizers complement each other in term of nutrients release. Research findings indicate that little has been done to transfer the technology to the peasant farmers who produce the bulk of the food in the country. Efforts should be made towards IPMN in order to increase food production that can feed the teaming population. Adequate soil map should be generated to reduce fertilizer abuse.
Received: April 25, 2010;
Accepted: May 07, 2010;
Published: August 07, 2010
A nation that cannot feed its citizens is not only a weak nation but has no
justification for continued existence. Virtually, in every part of Nigeria,
food availability has played and continues to play a key role in overall socio-economic
development (Adeleye, 2002). It is the goal of many
farmers in Nigeria to produce sustainable high yield of crops. However, decrease
in soil fertility after few years of cropping is a major limitation. The soils
mainly Alfisols and Ultisols are composed of low activity clays characterized
by low nutrient content, low pH, low organic matter content and high susceptibility
to erosion (USDA, 1975). Application of chemical fertilizers
constitutes a practice by farmers in attempt to correct the deficiencies of
nutrient elements. The case of significant increase in fertilizer consumption
and increase in crop production in Nigeria is obvious from all the researches
carried out so far. The main problem is that, though, demonstrated yield increases
from chemical fertilizer is not deniable, fertilizer costs remain high. At the
farm level, inefficient distribution systems often prevent fertilizer being
available. The result is often higher price and low yield that does not commensurate
with the purchased price. Potential profitability is, however, often affected
by other fundamental problems such as high rates of their application without
soil test where available. This adversely affects the soil chemical and physical
properties causing nutrient imbalance, increase in soil bulk density and low
infiltration rate (Nottidge et al., 2005a). These
factors hinder the uptake of nutrients by plants.
Apart from the fact that the soils are acidic as a result of their parent materials,
weathering and leaching (Obi and Ekperigin, 2001), the
continuous use of acid-forming fertilizers like sulphate of ammonia, urea and
ammonium nitrate also contributes significantly to soil acidity. Thus, the need
to focus on alternative sources of nutrients that will be less damaging to the
soil becomes imperative. Many workers have suggested the use of organic manures.
Farm wastes are been recycled and combined with chemical fertilizers by researchers
but has not been appreciated by both the peasant farmers and Nigerian governments.
In Southwestern Nigeria, many organic types of manure such as pig manure, goat
dung, cattle dung and poultry manure are in abundant but poultry manure has
been used more than any of these manures by researchers. These manures especially
poultry manure are rich in organic matter. Their use as organic fertilizers
enhances soil productivity but they have their own limitations that hinder optimum
production of food that can guarantee the teaming population. The increase in
the cost of animal feeds, transportation problems and for the fact that majority
of the farmers are not interested in animal keeping especially poultry production
as a result of the risks involved, limit their use as fertilizers. However,
the huge amount of these organic wastes required for field crop production and
handling problem also make them not suitable as substitute to mineral fertilizers.
Organic manure vary in nutrient composition depending on the source and handling
procedure, supply mainly N, P, K, Zn, Fe, Cu, Mn and B although, large quantities
of animal manures would be required to produce large nutrient inputs to the
soils. In Ghana, Jackson (1999) found that to correct
Zn deficiencies of soils near Wench, about 20 t ha-1 of poultry manure
were required. The amount of sheep or cattle manure required was estimated to
be between 40-60 t ha-1. In farmer surveys in the villages of Akrobi,
Bepyease, Manso and Dawomo in Ghana, Kiff et al. (1997)
noted that farmers knew of the availability of manure, but often felt that they
were regressive, that supply was unreliable and that it was too much effort
to collect. These combined factors made the use of manure generally unattractive
to farmers. Though, recently there has been boost in poultry business in urban
areas in Nigeria and huge poultry waste dumps are found lying waste (Adediran
et al., 2003) yet they are not still enough and many farmers are
not ready to make use of them.
There is also increase interest in the use of plant residues from plant as
sources of plant nutrients especially phosphate and potash fertilizers (Ojeniyi,
1995). These materials are often considered less likely to have detrimental
effect on soil physico-chemical properties compared with mineral fertilizers
but their uses are also limited by the large quantity required to meet crop
nutritional needs due to their low nutrient content and time lag to mineralize.
Examples of such plant residues are cocoa pod, kola husk; Azadracta leaves
(neem), glriccidia, oil palm bunch, sunflower etc. For example, cocoa farmers
in Nigeria are handicapped as to the best way of disposal of the huge amount
of cocoa pod husks that serve as inhabitant for some destructive pathogens such
as Phytophtora palmivora in their cocoa farms. About 800, 000 tonnes
of cocoa pod husk are annually generated in Nigeria and often wasted (Egunjobi,
1975). It is advised the husk be burnt into ash as a method of sanitation
and for the control of black pod disease of cocoa. Oil palm bunch is also a
problem to the farmers as their presence harbours venomous animals e.g., snakes.
Hence, neither mineral fertilizer nor organic manure is a panacea to soil fertility
management (Agboola and Unamena, 1989). Both mineral
fertilizers and organic manures have their own roles to play in soil fertility
management but none can solely supply all the nutrients and other conditions
of growth for producing crops that can feed the teeming population (Uyobisere
and Elemo, 2000).
In Nigeria, some attempts were made to investigate the combined effect of cow
dung, poultry manure and swine manure with mineral fertilizers (Ayeni
et al., 2008; Ayeni and Adetunji, 2010; Adeleye
and Ayeni, 2010; Ayeni, 2010) on soil chemical properties
and maize yield as well as tomato and found more positive responses than when
not combined in Southern Nigeria. Uyobisere and Elemo (2000)
combined locust bean (Perkia bigobosa), neem (Azadirachta indica)
and three rates of NPK fertilizer at 0, 1/2 and 1/4 of the optimum recommendation
of 120-60-60 in an experiment conducted to show the effect of foliage of locust
bean and neem on soil fertility and productivity of early maize in savanna Alfisol
of Northern Nigeria. Different organic wastes have also been combined with positive
results. For example, Ayeni et al. (2008), Ayeni
(2010) and Adeleye and Ayeni (2010) combined cocoa
pod husk ash and poultry manure and got positive response on maize yield and
increase in soil fertility when low level of cocoa pod ash was combined with
poultry manure. Also worked on integrated application of organominer fertilizer
and kola pod husk on growth, quality and yield of Amaranthus cruentus L.
and got more positive result than when they were singly applied in Southwestern
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF NIGERIAN SOILS
The USDA soil map of the world (Arkceson et al., 1968;
USDA, 1975) classified most of Nigerian soils on basement
complex Alfisols and on sand stones as Ultisols. This generalized grouping tends
to suggest basic similarities in the soil reaction processes with reaction intensities
only modified by climatic and vegetative differences. According to Ojeniyi
(1995) and Agboola et al. (1992), soils in
Nigeria suffer deficiencies common to tropical soils. These include low organic
matter content, shallow depth and high acidity. About 63% of the agricultural
soils in Nigeria are low in productivity and over 90% are Alfisols and Ultisols
that are low in organic matter and have low activity clays. He also maintained
that about 35% of soils in Eastern Nigeria are made up of acid sands that have
more than 60% sand in surface horizon and cations such as Ca, Mg and K that
are easily leached causing Al and Mn toxicity. Most of Nigerian soils are acidic
due to the nature of their parent materials, leaching and weathering (Ano,
1990). Kang and Osiname (1972) reported that micronutrients
such as Zn, B and Cu are lacking in soils of several parts of Nigeria. Nitrogen,
sulphur, zinc and boron are the main nutrients limiting soil fertility for maize
in Southwestern Nigeria soils. The level of these elements is inadequate for
good growth and yield of maize, even in a newly opened land (Adetunji,
Agboola and Sobulo (1981) and Sobulo
and Osiname (1987) reported that well drained soil profiles near the forest-savanna
fringe in Southwestern Nigeria tended to have higher values (means 1.6%) of
organic carbon in their surface horizons than the savanna region with about
0.8% on the average. They observed as one moves from the South to the North,
the amount of organic matter declines. This is because as amount of rainfall
decreases, the amount of organic matter decreases. Generally, savanna soils
have lower N status and wider C/N ratio than forest soils that greatly affect
N availability (FPDD, 1990). In Nigerian soils, N and
P are the most limiting nutrient. Soils under savanna vegetation have higher
K contents than soils in forest region (Akinrinde and Obigbesan,
2005). Nigerian soils vary widely in their content of total S as reported
by various workers cited by FPDD (1990). The recommendations
were 45-180 and 170 ppm for Southwestern Nigeria. Reported 44-134, 101-295 and
117-489 ppm for guinea savanna in the North, derived savanna and forest soils
of the South, respectively. Continuous cultivation of land using mechanized
methods in Nigeria and other tropical regions, soils deteriorate very fast with
the loss of organic matter and soil structure. Once the vegetation is removed
(Zake, 1993), the soils are subjected to increased intensive
rate of weathering and excessive leaching of nutrients and degradation in soil
structure and nutrient status to decline in soil organic matter. Appropriate
management methods must be adopted to sustain the productivity of soils without
degrading the soil physical, chemical and biological quality for high crop productivity.
Among the management methods will include integrated plant nutrition measures
centers on local available materials.
Effects of organic and mineral fertilizer combinations on soil fertility
and yield of crops: Studies carried out in Southwest Nigeria recommended
combinations of farmyard manure and NPK fertilizer intercropped in Nigeria.
Organomineral fertilizer is an organic fertilizer currently under investigations.
Results have indicated that it promotes high crop yields when used in combination
with inorganic fertilizer (Chude, 1999).
Research findings have convincingly shown that, it is the use of inorganic
fertilizer in combination with organic materials that gives higher and sustainable
crop yields than using either inorganic fertilizer or animal manure alone (Agbim
and Adeoye, 1991). Nottidge et al. (2005b)
conducted an experiment on comparative effect of plant residues and NPK on nutrient
status and yield of maize in a humid Ultisols. There result showed that wood
ash, pea nut residues and NPK combinations gave higher dry matter yields and
leaf N, K, Ca and Mg contents compared with each treatment applied alone. In
another experiment (Nottidge et al., 2005b) showed
that ash and peanut combined reduced soil bulk density and increased aggregate
stability and porosity.
The application of 300 kg ha-1 NPK, 7 t ha-1 poultry
manure and six combinations of reduced level of NPK showed that maize performed
better when organic and mineral fertilizers were combined at a reduced quantity
(Adeniyan and Ojeniyi, 2005). Application of combined
use of Organic Based Fertilizer (OBF) and urea at 2 t ha-1 OBF and
90 kg ha-1 urea was more superior to application of either of the
It is shown that 20 t ha-1 organic manure in addition with 2.4 t
ha-1 crushed rock waste material significantly increased maize yield
in an Ultisol. Combined application of reduced quantities of poultry manure
and NPK fertilizer tended to give better residual effect on soil and leaf nutrient
content and maize yield than fertilizer alone. The effectiveness of cow dung,
poultry dropping, oil palm sludge, Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN) and urea with
their combinations on soil chemical properties and maize yield have been reported
(Nnadi et al., 2004). The organic wastes combined
(i.e., combination of poultry manure, oil palm sludge and urea) increase the
soil pH, organic matter, total N, Bray-1- P and exchangeable Mg and K values
while the mineral fertilizer reduced the values of these soil properties.
The common problems associated with both chemical fertilizer and organic manure
when singly applied could be eliminated by integrating the good qualities in
each material in order to achieve a better interaction effects (Kulkarne
and Kulkarne, 1982). There is no justification in wasting scarce resources
on chemical fertilizer, which does not justify the ends. The cost of procuring
chemical fertilizers in Nigeria has gone beyond the reach of the peasant farmers.
Cost reduction is ensured under the integrated fertility management approach
because only small quantity of chemical fertilizers is required with animal
A lot of money is being spent on liming acid soil without significant improvement.
Therefore, the complementary use of these fertilizers would maintain a stable
pH level in the soil. However combining residue incorporation with judicious
fertilizer use is more likely to provide the most effective and efficient means
of maintaining soil productivity and sustained crop yields in the humid tropical
environment (Adetunji, 1997).
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
Food is the basic necessity of human being which he must not be denied. A country that could not feed herself serves as dumping ground for other better nations. The population of Nigeria is increasing daily while the death rate is decreasing as a result of better health care delivery system than ever before. The oil boom of 1970s in the country is fading away as many countries are now refining oil and other substitutes that could reduce the use of petroleum to the barest minimum. The groundnut peak in Northern Nigeria that used to serve as export crop which generate revenues to the country has become an old story as a result of poor soil fertility which leads to poor yield of groundnut. Cocoa farms are left with moribund trees with little or no effort to resuscitate them. Nigeria is still using a generalized soil map which could not state specifically which particular place or region is suitable for a specific crop. This has resulted in indiscriminate application of mineral fertilizers which poses more risk on the fragile soil. Awareness has not been adequately created by individual or government agencies as to the use of integrated plant nutrition management for soil fertility and optimum crop production.
It is expedient to go back and make amendment to the soil by making use of available local resources to improve its fertility before the situation gets out of control.
Government at all levels, are advised to make scientific findings released by researchers as one of their priorities in their program.
Farmers need technical education on how to make use of the available land for crop production through judicious use of combined fertilizers through on farm adaptive research so as to preserve the soils.
Comprehensive soil map is required indicating soil types and nutrient requirements of each crop suitable for each locality or region.
There is need to stop wasting organic materials that could be used to increase soil nutrients.
1: Adeleye, E.O., 2002. A Review of soil management techniques for sustainable crop production in Nigeria. Agric. Sci. J., 1: 91-105.
2: Adeleye, E.O. and L.S. Ayeni, 2010. Effect of cocoa pod ash and poultry manure combinations on soil and plant nutrient contents and performance of maize-screenhouse experiment. Researcher, 2: 75-80.
Direct Link |
3: Ayeni, L.S., 2010. Effect of combined cocoa pod ash and NPK fertilizer on soil properties, nutrient uptake and yield of maize (Zea mays). J. Am. Sci., 6: 79-84.
Direct Link |
4: Ayeni, L.S., M.T. Adetunji, S.O. Ojeniyi, S.B. Ewulo and A.J. Adeyemo, 2008. Comparative and cumulative effect of cocoa pod husk ash and poultry manure on soil and maize nutrient contents and yield. Am.-Eurasian J. Sustain. Agric., 2: 92-97.
5: Ayeni, L.S. and M.T. Adetunji, 2010. Integrated application of poultry manure and mineral fertilizer on soil chemical properties, nutrient uptake, yield and growth components of maize. Nat. Sci., 8: 60-67.
Direct Link |
6: Uyobisere, E.O. and K.A. Elemo, 2000. Effect of inorganic fertilizer and foliage of Azadirachta and Parkia species on the productivity of maize. Nig. J. Soil Res., 1: 17-22.
7: Adediran, J.A., I.B. Taiwo and R.A. Sobulo, 2003. Comparative nutrients level of some solid organic wastes and their effect on tomato (Lycopersicum esculentus) yield. African Soils, 33: 100-113.
8: Adeniyan, O.N. and S.O. Ojeniyi, 2005. Effect of poultry manure, NPK 15-15-15 and combination of their reduced levels on maize growth and soil chemical properties. Nig. J. Soil Sci., 15: 34-41.
Direct Link |
9: Adetunji, M.T., 1991. An evaluation of the soil nutrient status for maize production in South Western Nigeria. J. Agric. Res., 8: 101-113.
10: Adetunji, M.T., 1997. Organic residue management, soil nutrient changes and maize yield in a humid ultisols. Nutr. Recycl. Agro. Ecosyst., 47: 189-195.
11: Agbim, N.N. and R.B. Adeoye, 1991. The Role Crop Residues in Soil Fertility Maintenance and Conservation. In: Organic Fertilizer in the Nigerian Agriculture Present and Future, Lombin, I. (Ed.). FMNAR, Abuja, Nigeria, pp: 21-42
12: Agboola, A.A., G.O. Obigbesan and A.A. Fayemi, 1992. Effect of organic matter, lime and phosphorus fertilizer on the yield of cowpea. FAO Soil Bull., 27: 39-43.
13: Agboola, A.A. and R.P.A. Unamena, 1989. Maintenance of soil fertility under traditional farming systems. Paper Presented at the National Seminar on Organic Fertilizer.
14: Agboola, A.A. and R.A. Sobulo, 1981. A review of soil fertility in southwestern zone of Nigeria. Report No. 6. Federal Department ofAgriculture and Land Resources, Kaduna, Nigeria. Ataga.
15: Akinrinde, A. and G.O. Obigbesan, 2005. Evaluation of K release and fixation behavior of some Nigerian soils. Nig. J. Soil Sci., 15: 47-53.
16: Ano, A.O., 1990. Forms and distribution of K in some South Eastern Nigeria troposequencies. J. K Resour., 10: 117-123.
17: Arkceson, T.K., D.L. Rourke and A.J. Vessel, 1968. Soil of the World (Map) USA. Government Printing office, Washington D.C
18: Chude, V.O., 1999. Perspective of fertilizer use in the 21st century. Proceeding of 25th Annual Conference on Soil Science Society of Nigeria, (SSSN`99), Benin, Nigeria, pp: 255-259
19: Egunjobi, O.A., 1975. Possible utilization of discovered cocoa pod husks fertilizer and nematicide. Proceedings of the 5th International Cocoa Research Conference, Sept. 1-9, Ibadan, pp: 541-547
20: FPDD, 1990. Literature review on soil fertility investigations in Nigeria. Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Lagos, pp: 1-199.
21: Jackson, D., 1999. Development and promotion of improved techniques of water and soil fertility management for the sustainable production of crops on land in the humid forest belt.. Nature Resource Institute Bulletin, London, pp: 2-4. http://www.nrsp.org/database/project_view.asp?projectID=105.
22: Kiff, E., M.K. Chan and D. Jackson, 1997. Integrated food crop systems project. Ghana Development and Promotion of Improved technique Report of Water and Soil Fertility Management London.
23: Kulkarne, R.K. and M. Kurlkarne, 1982. Complementary use of farm yard manure and chemical fertilizers in intensive crop production. Bioresour. Technol., 169: 17-36.
24: Nottidge, G.O., S.O. Ojeiniyi and D.O. Asawalam, 2005. Effect of plant residue and NPK fertilizer on soil properties in a humid Ultisol. Soil Sci. Soc. Nig., 15: 9-19.
25: Nottidge, D.O., S.O. Ojeniyi and D.O. Aswalam, 2005. A comparative effect of Plant residue and NPK fertilizer on nutrient status and yield of maize in a humid Ultisol. Nig. J. Soil Sci., 15: 1-8.
26: Obi, O. and J. Ekperigin, 2001. Effect of wastes and soil pH on growth and grain yield of crops. African Soils, 32: 3-15.
27: Ojeniyi, S.O., 1995. That our soil may not die. Proceedings of the 10th Inaugural Lecture, March 23, Federal University of Technology, Akure, pp: 5-10
28: Nnadi, A., A.A. Omonehin and S.N. Ifemelebe, 2004. Effects of organic wastes as biofertilizer on productivity of an Ultisol. Proceedings of the 26th Annual Conference on Soil Science Society of Nigeria Ibadan, Oct. 30-Nov. 3, Oyo State Nigeria, pp: 121-125
29: Sobulo, R.A. and O.A. Osiname, 1987. Soil and fertilizer use in Western Nigeria. Resour. Bull., 11: 20-26.
30: USDA, 1975. Soil Taxonomy A Basic System for Making and Interpreting Soil Surveys. Govt. Printing office, Washington DC
31: Zake, J.Y.L., 1993. Overcoming soil constraints of crop production in sustaining soil productivity intensive. Proceedngs of the Seminar Afican Agriculture Wageingeen CTA, Nov. 15-19, Accra, Ghana, pp: 57-66
32: Kang, B.T. and O.A. Osiname, 1972. Micronutrients investigation in West African. Proceedings of the Ford Foundation/IITA/IRAT International Seminar on Tropical Soil Research, May 22-26, 1972, Ibadan, Nigeria -