University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF), Germany
Rapidly increasing population and changes in the eating habits of people has put a pressure on worldwide food production. It is expected that world population can increase by 40% in the year 2050. To meet food requirements for such a larger and more affluent population, annual cereal production needs to increase by 40% in year 2025. This much increase in food production will require intensified production since the amount of available land is finite. Mineral nutrients are the major contributor to enhancing crop production. However, imbalance and non-judicious use of nutrient fertilisers have limited crop production and quality. The objective of the current study was a) to assess in quantitative terms farmers' perceptions about fertiliser use for wheat in Hyderabad district of Pakistan and b) to evaluate how this fertiliser use improves the nutrient uptake in plants.
The northern part of the study area is cultivated with cotton-wheat rotation, which is widely practised, and the southern part is well known as sugarcane belt. A random sample of 181 farmers was surveyed for the farmer's perception about fertiliser application for wheat. Whole plant material above ground level during tillering stage of wheat and leaf sample at flag leaf stage was collected from the same farms for micro (Zn, Fe, Cu, Mn and B)- and macro"=nutrient (N, P and K) analysis. The results of the survey show that 100% of the farmers relied on urea and DAP to enrich soils with nitrogen and phosphate"=nitrogen, respectively. Out of these, only 3% of the farmers applied zinc sulfate to enrich the soils with zinc. They believe that urea and DAP would increase their yield whereas they don't apply any other fertiliser for enhancing micro nutrients. The analysis of plants is underway, however the preliminary results show that nutrients uptake in the plants is very low especially nitrogen, phosphorous, zinc and boron. Results and recommendations will be presented in detail during the final version of the paper.
Keywords: Fertiliser, nutrients, wheat, wine, nitrogen, Pakistan