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University of Kassel (2012)

Agricultural practices and horizontal nutrient balances in urban gardens and the alternative use of urban agricultural land in Khartoum, Sudan

Abdalla, Sahar Babiker Ahmed

Titre : Agricultural practices and horizontal nutrient balances in urban gardens and the alternative use of urban agricultural land in Khartoum, Sudan

Auteur : Abdalla, Sahar Babiker Ahmed

Université de soutenance : University of Kassel

Grade  : Doktors der Agrarwissenschaften (Dr. agr.) angenommen 2012

Résumé partiel
The surge in the urban population evident in most developing countries is a worldwide phenomenon, and often the result of drought, conflicts, poverty and the lack of education opportunities. In parallel with the growth of the cities is the growing need for food which leads to the burgeoning expansion of urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA). In this context, urban agriculture (UA) contributes significantly to supplying local markets with both vegetable and animal produce. As an income generating activity, UA also contributes to the livelihoods of poor urban dwellers. In order to evaluate the nutrient status of urban soils in relation to garden management, this study assessed nutrient fluxes (inputs and outputs) in gardens on urban Gerif soils on the banks of the River Nile in Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan. To achieve this objective, a preliminary baseline survey was carried out to describe the structure of the existing garden systems. In cooperation with the author of another PhD thesis (Ms. Ishtiag Abdalla), alternative uses of cow dung in brick making kilns in urban Khartoum were assessed ; and the socio-economic criteria of the brick kiln owners or agents, economical and plant nutritional value of animal dung and the gaseous emission related to brick making activities were assessed. A total of 40 household heads were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire to collect information on demographic, socio-economic and migratory characteristics of the household members, the gardening systems used and the problems encountered in urban gardening. Based on the results of this survey, gardens were divided into three groups : mixed vegetable-fodder gardens, mixed vegetable-subsistence livestock gardens and pure vegetable gardens. The results revealed that UA is the exclusive domain of men, 80% of them non-native to Khartoum. The harvested produce in all gardens was market oriented and represented the main source of income for 83% of the gardeners. Fast growing leafy vegetables such as Jew’s mallow (Corchorous olitorius L.), purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.) and rocket (Eruca sativa Mill.) were the dominant cultivated species. Most of the gardens (95%) were continuously cultivated throughout the year without any fallow period, unless they were flooded. Gardeners were not generally aware of the importance of crop diversity, which may help them overcome the strongly fluctuating market prices for their produce and thereby strengthen the contributions of UA to the overall productivity of the city. To measure nutrient fluxes, four gardens were selected and their nutrients inputs and outputs flows were monitored. In each garden, all plots were monitored for quantification of nutrient inputs and outputs. To determine soil chemical fertility parameters in each of the studied gardens, soil samples were taken from three selected plots at the beginning of the study in October 2007 (gardens L1, L2 and H1) and in April 2008 (garden H2) and at the end of the study period in March 2010. Additional soil sampling occurred in May 2009 to assess changes in the soil nutrient status after the River Nile flood of 2008 had receded. Samples of rain and irrigation water (river and well-water) were analyzed for nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K) and carbon (C) content to determine their nutrient inputs. Catchment traps were installed to quantify the sediment yield from the River Nile flood. To quantify the nutrient inputs of sediments, samples were analyzed for N, P, K and organic carbon (Corg) content, cation exchange capacity (CEC) and the particle size distribution. The total nutrient inputs were calculated by multiplying the sediment nutrient content by total sediment deposits on individual gardens. Nutrient output in the form of harvested yield was quantified at harvest of each crop. Plant samples from each field were dried, and analyzed for their N, P, K and Corg content. Cumulative leaching losses of mineral N and P were estimated in a single plot in garden L1 from December 1st 2008 to July 1st 2009 using 12 ion exchange resins cartridges. Nutrients were extracted and analyzed for nitrate (NO3—N), ammonium (NH4+-N) and phosphate PO4-3-P. Changes in soil nutrient balance were assessed as inputs minus outputs.


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