FarmLime :low-cost lime for small-scale farming

Mitchell, Clive John ORCID: 2005 FarmLime :low-cost lime for small-scale farming. In: Marker, BR; Petterson, MG; McEvoy, F; Stephenson, MH, (eds.) Sustainable minerals operations in the developing world. London, UK, Geological Society of London, 121-126, 6pp. (Geological Society Special Publication, 250, 250).

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In the less developed parts of southern Africa, where agriculture is crucial in daily survival, agricultural lime is often difficult to obtain. This is due to the scarcity of production sites, high transport costs and inadequate support for farmers from government extension services. In Zambia there are upwards of 700,000 small-scale farmers who struggle to farm on acid soils and as a result have poor crop yields. They cannot afford to use agricultural lime, which would solve the problem and as a result are trapped in a cycle of poverty. In an attempt to address this problem the UK research project ‘FarmLime’, based in Zambia, investigated a means of producing affordable agricultural lime using simple, locally available technology. Dolomite suitable for agricultural lime occurs throughout Zambia including those farming districts with acidic soils. It is estimated that small-scale production using partly manual methods could produce agricultural lime for US$25-30 per tonne. Demonstration crop trials were successful in demonstrating the benefits of using agricultural lime to small-scale farmers. Where the price of maize is high and the cost of lime is low the economic benefits of its use are high. However, even if there is a demonstrable economic benefit, the use of agricultural lime will be constrained by the lack of cash in the rural economy; one potential solution to this could be bartering of crops for agricultural lime.

Item Type: Publication - Book Section
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Economic Minerals
ISBN: 1862391882
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 14 Nov 2008 12:00 +0 (UTC)

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