Assessment of Soil Fertility in Smallholder Potato Farms in Rwanda

DOI: 10.18805/ag.D-146    | Article Id: D-146 | Page : 280-285
Citation :- Assessment of Soil Fertility in Smallholder Potato Farms in Rwanda.Agricultural Science Digest.2019.(39):280-285
Adrien Turamyenyirijuru, Guillaume Nyagatare, Robert M. Gesimba and Rhoda J. Birech adratur2005@yahoo.fr
Address : Department of Crop Science, School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, College of Agriculture, Animal Sciences & Veterinary Medicine, University of Rwanda; P.O. Box 210 Musanze /Rwanda.
Submitted Date : 6-04-2019
Accepted Date : 18-11-2019


This study assessed soil fertility in potato farms of Birunga and Buberuka highlands agro-ecological zones (AEZs). It compared nutrients levels (N, P, K, Mg, Ca, Na, S, Mn, Cu, Zn and Fe) and other parameters (pH, organic carbon [OC], cation exchange capacity [CEC], base saturation [BS], bulk density [BD] and texture) of soil samples. ANOVA revealed that pH of soils (5.53-6.50) varied from slightly to moderately acidic, BD fell below optimum for plant growth (< 1.8gcm-3), texture was sandy loam to sand clay loam. Soil fertility for OC (3.33-5.53%), N (0.15-0.31%) and CEC (10.08-18.60 meq/100g) varied from low to medium; and medium to high for BS (34.78-61.91%); was qualified medium for P (5.75-9.20 ppm), K (0.21-0.54 meq/100g), S (6.46 - 8.15 ppm) and majority of micronutrients. Values from Birunga AEZ were higher than ones from Buberuka AEZ except for BD, CEC, clay, silt, Na and Fe.  There were significant differences between farms within locations for all parameters and significant differences between locations for all parameters except Na and Mn.


Potato Rwanda Soil fertility Soil properties


  1. Bezabih, B., Aticho, A. Mossisa, T. and Dume, B.( 2016). The effect of land management practices on soil physical and chemical properties in Gojeb Sub-river Basin of Dedo District, Southwest Ethiopia. Journal of Soil Science and Environmental Management. 7: 154–165. 
  2. Birasa, E., Bizimana, I., Bouckaert, W., Deflandre, A., Chapelle, J., Gallez, A. and Vercruysse, J. (1990). Carte Pédologique du Rwanda. MINAGRI, Kigali, Rwanda.
  3. Brady, N.C. and Weil, R. R. T. (2002). The Nature and Properties of Soils (13th ed.). Pearson Education, New Jersey. 
  4. Brady, N. C. and Weil, R. R. T. (2008). The Nature and Properties of Soils. Prentice Pearson-Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
  5. Bruce, R. C. and Rayment, G. E. (1982). Analytical Methods and Interpretations used by the Agricultural Chemistry Branch for Soil and Land Use Surveys. Queensland Dept. of Primary Industrie, Indooroopilly, Queensland, Australia.
  6. Burera District. (2013). District Development Plan (2013-2018). MINALOC, Kigali, Rwanda.
  7. De la Rosa, D. (2005). Soil quality evaluation and monitoring based on land evaluation. Land Degradation and Development. 16: 551–559.
  8. IFDC. (2009). An Action for Developing Agricultural Inputs Markets in Rwanda. MINAGRI, Kigali, Rwanda. 
  9. Laekemariam, F. (2015). Soil spatial variability analysis, fertility mapping and soil plant nutrient relations in Wolaita Zone, Southern Ethiopia. PhD Thesiss; Haramaya University, Ethiopia.
  10. Laekemariam, F. (2016). Soil Nutrient Status of Smallholder Cassava Farms in Southern Ethiopia. Biological Agriculture and Horticulture. 6: 12–18.
  11. Landon, J. R. (1991). Booker Tropical Soil Manual: a Handbook for Soil Survey and Agricultural Land Evaluation in the Tropics and Subtropics. John Wiley and Sons Inc., New York.
  12. Medhe, S. R., Takankhar, V. G.and Salve, A. N. (2012). Correlation of chemical properties, secondary nutrients and micronutrient anions from the soils of Chakur Tahisil of Latur district, Maharashtra. Trends in Life Sciences. 1: 34–40.
  13. MINAGRI. (2011). Strategies for sustainable crop intensification in Rwanda-Shifting focus from producing enough to producing surplus. Republic of Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda.
  14. MINECOFIN. (2012). Rwanda vision 2020 revised. Republic of Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda.
  15. MINIRENA. (2004). National Land Policy. Republic of Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda.
  16. Nazif, W., Perveen, S. and Saleem, I. (2006). Status of micronutrients in soils of district Bhimber (Azad Jammu and Kashmir). Agricultural and Biological Science. 1: 35–40.
  17. Okalebo, J. R., Gathua, K. W and Woomer, P. L. (2002). Laboratory Methods of Soil and Plant Analysis: A Working Manual (2nd ed.). Moi University, Nairobi, Kenya.
  18. Rogerio, C., Ana, L. B. H. and De Quirijn, J. L. (2006). Spatio-    temporal variability of soil water tension in a tropical soil in Brazil. Acta Ecologica Sinica. 133: 231–243.
  19. Rubavu District. (2013). District Development Plan (2013-2018). MINALOC, Kigali, Rwanda.
  20. SAS Institute Inc. (2008). SAS/STAT® 9.2 User’s Guide. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC. 
  21. Singh, R. P. and Mishra, S. K. (2012). Available macronutrients (N, P, K and S) in the soils of Chiraigaon block of district Varanasi (U . P .) in relation to soil characteristics. Indian Journal of Scientific Research. 3: 97–100.
  22. Tittonell, P., Muriuki, K. D. A., Shepherd, D., Mugendi, K. C., Kaizzi, J., Okeyo, L., Verchot, R. C. and Vanlauwe, B. (2010). “The diversity of rural livelihoods and their influence on soil fertility in agricultural systems of East Africa–A typology of smallholder farms.” Agricultural Systems. 103: 83–97.
  23. Tittonell, P., Corbeels, M., Van Wijk, M. T, Vanlauwe, B. and Giller, K. E. (2008). Combining Organic and Mineral Fertilizers for Integrated Soil Fertility Management in Smallholder Farming Systems of Kenya: Explorations Using the Crop-    Soil Model FIELD. Agronomy Journal. 100:1511-1526. 
  24. Vanlauwe, B., Tittonell, P. and Mukalama, J. (2006). Within-farm soil fertility gradients affect response of maize to fertiliser application in western Kenya. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems. 76: 171–182.
  25. Wang, Y. Q. and Shao, M. A. (2013). Spatial variability of soil physical properties in a region of the loess plateau of PR China subject to wind and water erosion. Land Degradation and Development. 24: 296–304.
  26. Walkley, J. and Black, I. A. 1934.An examination of the Degtjareff method for determining soil organic matter and a proposed modification of chromic acid titration method. Soil Science, 37: 29 38.
  27. Yihenew, G. S., Anemut, F. and Addisu, S. T. (2015). The effects of land use types , management practices and slope classes on selected soil physico-chemical properties in Zikre watershed, North-Western Ethiopia. Environment System Research. 4: 1–7. 
  28. Zelalem, A., Tekalign, T. and Nigussie, D. (2009). Response of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) to different rates of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilization on vertisols at Debre Berhan, in the central highlands of Ethiopia. African Journal of Plant Science. 3: 16–24.

Global Footprints