Assessing the effects of fertilizer use on the maize productivity
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Fertilizer use plays an important role in replacing lost soil nutrients either through erosion or continuous uptake by plants. Appropriate fertilizer use leads to increased crop yields and high crop recovery of the applied nutrients. The purpose of the study was to assess the effects of fertilizer use on maize productivity in Busoga region. Specific objectives; characterized productivity by input use, determined factors influencing fertilizer adoption among farmers and effects of fertilizer use on maize productivity. The target population was 1041 maize farmers from cluster 2 who were beneficiaries of the Agricultural Cluster Development project (ACDP) and have been beneficiaries for the past 6 months. Cluster 2 is composed of four (4) districts of Busoga region that is Bugiri, Bugweri, Iganga and Namutumba. The results show that; 53.62% of the respondents were males and 46.38% were females, 97.37% of the farmers applied fertilizer, farmers in this cluster applied fertilizer on two commodities that is maize and rice where maize consumed 95.62% of the fertilizers received from the project. Farmers in Busoga region grew three different varieties of maize that is Bazooka, Longe 10H and Longe 7H-IR. Famers in the region received inputs from three different locations that is district, sub-county and parish. Results showed that there was a significant mean difference of 409.57kg of maize output at 1% level of significance between fertilizer users and non-users in maize production. Factors such as gender, districts, source of labour, training and production costs had a significant effect on the level of fertilizer adoption among maize farmers. Being a primary decision maker, pesticide application, technology, varieties, time taken to receive inputs and the person who delivers the inputs among maize farmers did not have a significant effect on the level of fertilizer adoption among maize farmers. The results also showed that gender, maize varieties, district, and being a primary decision maker and the interaction effect between fertilizer with pesticides, improved seeds and row planting method had significant effects of fertilizer use on maize productivity while planting methods, location of receiving inputs, season and technology did not have significant effects of fertilizer use on maize productivity. The study also found out that use of fertilizer alone cannot improve maize productivity but it works best if combined with other inputs such as pesticides, improved seeds, fungicides and row planting method.