Nepalese farmers’ perceptions of nitrogen inputs and attitudes to soil management: Implications for soil health and environmentally sustainable farming

Rajendra Joshi, Bigyapti Nepal, Subodh Sharma, T Begho*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Across Nepal, there is a decline in soil health. Thus, soils in Nepal requires effective management to ensure its sustainability. The success of these strategies is contingent upon understanding farmers' perceptions, opinions, and attitudes towards maintaining soil health. This paper investigates the current soil management practices, farmers' perceptions of soil nutrient use in relation to soil fertility, yield, and environmental impact, attitudes to soil management, and how these differ by personal and economic characteristics. The result is based on a survey of 300 Nepalese farmers. The findings are that there is a prevalence of practices such as puddling, deep tillage, and broadcasting without incorporation. Over 60% of farmers do not consciously consider the weather or environmental impact in soil management decisions. Financial returns are a significant motivating factor for changing current soil and crop management practices for many farmers. Further, the results highlight a perception amongst a larger proportion of farmers that compared to synthetic fertiliser; manure enhances soil fertility, increases crop yield, and does less harm to biodiversity. The potential for overuse and environmental pollution from misperception around manure are supported by the findings in this paper. The regression results indicate that farmers who perceive different nitrogen inputs as increasing yield, the quality of the harvest, or harming the soil, and those who manage their soil depending on the weather with considerations for the environment tend to use less nitrogen inputs. The paper highlights aspects of farming practices, opinions, and attitudes that can be improved to maintain healthy soils.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100102
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalSoil Security
Volume12
Early online date27 Aug 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - Sept 2023

Keywords

  • Nitrogen
  • fertilisers
  • manure
  • soil health
  • sustainable agriculture
  • nutrient management
  • Manure
  • Fertilisers
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Nutrient management
  • Soil health

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