A SURVEY OF SOIL FERTILITY STATUS OF FOUR AGROECOLOGICAL ZONES OF MOZAMBIQUE


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Abstract

Mozambique includes 10 agroecological zones with distinct climate and cropping systems (INIA, 1980). Agricultural production is more intensively practiced in the central and northern parts of the country where agroecological conditions are favorable. As a result of 16 years of civil war and low funding for agricultural research few assessments of soil nutrient status have been possible. To assess soil nutrient status, four agriculturally promising agroecological zones were selected for a survey. Sixty-two sites were sampled, and composite samples of surface and subsurface soils were taken and analyzed for properties considered critical for the production of food crops. The sample points were recorded with a differential global position system and mapped. The results indicate that most of the soils are low in effective cation exchange capacity, moderate in organic matter, moderate to strongly acidic, moderately weathered, and moderate to high in P sorption capacity. In general, these soils can be classified as having low to moderate fertility. Findings of this study indicate limitations of the existing map of soil resources of Mozambique. The results of this study suggest that additional sampling and soil survey will be required to improve the quality of soil surveys for site-specific applications. A site-specific soil survey is recommended that would provide additional information on soil resources and would greatly improve the current soil map that has an inadequate soil database. Furthermore, calibration and correlation studies are recommended for better decisions on soil nutrient management for ensuring food security.

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