Dilemma of nitrogen management for future food security in sub-Saharan Africa – a review
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Masso, C., Baijukya, F., Ebanyat, P., Bouaziz, S., Wendt, J., Bekunda, M. & Vanlauwe, B. (2017). Dilemma of nitrogen management for future food security in sub-Saharan Africa–a review. Soil Research, 55(6), 425-434.
Permanent link to cite or share this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10568/89021
Food security entails having sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to meet dietary needs. The need to optimise nitrogen (N) use for nutrition security while minimising environmental risks in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is overdue. Challenges related to managing N use in SSA can be associated with both insufficient use and excessive loss, and thus the continent must address the ‘too little’ and ‘too much’ paradox. Too little N is used in food production (80% of countries have N deficiencies), which has led to chronic food insecurity and malnutrition. Conversely, too much N load in water bodies due mainly to soil erosion, leaching, limited N recovery from wastewater, and atmospheric deposition contributes to eutrophication (152 Gg N year–1 in Lake Victoria, East Africa). Limited research has been conducted to improve N use for food production and adoption remains low, mainly because farming is generally practiced by resource-poor smallholder farmers. In addition, little has been done to effectively address the ‘too much’ issues, as a consequence of limited research capacity. This research gap must be addressed, and supportive policies operationalised, to maximise N benefits, while also minimising pollution. Innovation platforms involving key stakeholders are required to address N use efficiency along the food supply chain in SSA, as well as other world regions with similar challenges.
Article purchased; Published online: 13 July 2017
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