The nutrient deficit of African soil is dramatic. Nitrogen fertilizers are few and little effective due to an enormous phosphate shortage.
By 2050, the growing imbalance can lead to yield reductions of nearly 30%, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) warns.
The imbalance of nutrients will have a strong negative impact on plant growth on the long term.
From the current amount of N used, the quantity of phosphate should be doubled to bring some balance.
This imbalance leads to a yield gap of 10% at this moment for subsistence farmers and will increase up to 27% in in 2050 if nothing will change.
Lack of nutrients
But not only the imbalance is alarming, also the basic lack of nutrients is tormenting.
Only 30% of the potential yield is actually achieved. Five times more N would be needed to close the gap. A sufficient balance asks 12 times more P.
Nitrogene is an element which can be extracted from the air, which costs a lot of energy, phosphorus is mined and the reserves are limited. Due this, N fertilizers are cheaper and more used by subsistence farmers.
Question is: what are the solutions?