Intensifying Maize and Beans Production through Improved Soil Health and Marketing in Mbeya, Tanzania

Sustainable crop production can be achieved only through proper use of soil resources, which includes the maintenance or the enhancement of soil fertility. The term soil fertility is used here to encompass not only essential plant nutrients but also aspects of soil structure, including water holding capacity, soil organic matter content and biological activity that influence both the efficiency of use and sustainability of the resources. All these are interrelated and contribute to the soil potential productivity or fertility. From this point of view, soil fertility can be assessed as a capital stock, which will produce interests when properly used, and yet will be eroded by consumptive use. There are two major set of actions for sustainable soil management: (1) actions aiming at the regeneration of soil capital i.e. recapitalization of soil fertility, and (2) maintenance of enhanced soil fertility.