By F. Makken (auth.), A. Uzo Mokwunye (eds.)
Tropical Africa escaped from the glaciers that lined the temperate components of the realm throughout the Ice Age. The legacy is that the majority of the dad or mum fabrics of the soils of tropical Africa are previous, hugely weathered and without bases and phosphate-bearing minerals. conventional farming structures that have been quite sturdy and sustainable trusted lengthy fallow sessions after one to 2 years of cropping to keep up the efficient capability of the soils. in recent years and particularly in densely populated components, a massive category of 'landless' farmers have started to domesticate marginal lands or to invade the 'forest reserves' thereby exacerbating the issues of land and environ psychological degradation. of soil fertility that might facilitate the construction of sufficient amounts of the main retaining a degree staples has develop into a tremendous problem to agricultural scientists in tropical Africa. to extend the nutrient offering strength of soils calls for the inputs of fertilizers. those could be natural or inorganic. The potency with which those externally provided inputs can bring up agricultural construction and decrease soil and environmental deterioration depends at the skill of scientists to figure out the perfect forms and amounts of the goods to use to every soil, crop and cropping method in addition to the facility of farmers to procure needful farm deal with ment skills.
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Additional info for Alleviating Soil Fertility Constraints to Increased Crop Production in West Africa
Table 2. Probabilities of growing season length exceeding specified durations for variable onset of rains for Ougadougou, Burkina Faso Date of onset of rains Length of growing season (days) exceeding 95 115 135 150 3 May 13 May 23 May 2 June 12 June 100 100 97 84 57 97 85 57 25 7 57 25 7 1 0 14 3 0 0 0 The above analysis suggests that management tactics in the Southern Sahelian and Sudanian zones can be altered depending upon the onset of rains. In a field test of this methodology at Sadore, Niger (Southern Sahelian zone), it was shown that during years with early onset of rains, it is possible to grow a second crop of cowpea for fodder after the first crop of millet .
E similar for the region as a whole. For example , lack of adequate rainfall and high evaporative demand constitute major constraints in the southern Sahelian Zone while water logging caused by heavy rains and poor drainage are major problems on the heavy soils in some areas of the Northern Guinea Savanna Zone and perhumid area of the rainforest zone. For this reason reference will be made to specific climatic zone in the discussion of these constraints. l~~~~~~il ....... () IP~ET,'o< .... U> IP~ ET,.
Since potential evapotranspiration influences the proportion of rainfall avail- 34 able for crop growth, Sivakumar  proposed a soil-climatic zonation scheme for West Africa using the growing period which is calculated from rainfall and potential evapotranspiration. In this scheme, the growing period of 60-100 days was used for delineating the southern Sahelian zone, 100-150 days for the Sudanian zone, and 150-210 days for the Northern Guinea zone. A parallel scheme based on the duration of the 'humid period' defined in terms of the number of months with rainfall equal to, or greater than, potential evapotranspiration was used by Lawson  to provide a unified zonation for the region as a whole (Fig.