End Date : 11.02.2014
Start Date : 11.02.2013
Soils, Science and the Politics of knowledge: Perspectives from Scientists and Ngamiland Smallholders on Integrated soil Fertility Management in North-western Botswana.
Department : Okavango Research Institute
Researcher : Dr Oluwatoyin D. Kolawole
Knowledge production, including those in integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) and its implementation, is influenced by power relations amongst knowledge 'industrialists'. Indeed, politics play a crucial role in the process of determining what is considered an acceptable way of knowing. In part, the study aims at seeking avenues for enhancing the nutrient levels and cation-exchange capacity (CEC) of soils in a semi-arid environment such as the Okavango Delta where soil infertility is a major challenge for agricultural production. Thus, the main purpose of the project is to ascertain the viewpoints of small farmers and soil scientists about the former’s relevance/role in integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) implementation in northwestern Botswana. The study focusses on small farmers in communities around the panhandle of the Okavango Delta, the mid-Delta and the distal areas. About 2-3 settlements/farming communities were chosen from each area as follow: Mohembo, and Kauxwi [in the panhandle]; Nokaneng, Danega and other surrounding farming communities [in the Delta area]; and Chanoga, Xana and Makalamabedi [in the distal area]. By and large, the thrust of the study is to promote cost-efective and conservation agriculture amongst small farmers in the Okavango Delta of Botswana. The phased study comprises three components: field survey, soil analyses and field experimentations.
Specifically, the research intends to accomplish the followings:
· determine the extent to which political ecology and economy of soil management have affected smallholder farmers and their knowledge systems in Ngami and Okavango sub-Districts;
· determine the congruence between the opinions of soil scientists/researchers (about farmers' knowlegde in ISFM) and those of farmers themselves;
· draw lessons from farmers' viewpoints on sustainanble ISFM implementation in Northwestern Botswana; and carry out field experimentations on the efficacy of an organic product known as BioWash