Domestic production only supplies half of Somalia’s cereal requirements and more than half of the country’s population is considered food insecure. In this study, the Somali Agriculture Technical Group (SATG) used an on-farm participatory research approach to compare the economic viability and plant yield parameters of an improved maize production system (SATG system) with those of the traditional farming systems (traditional system) of the Lower Shebelle region of Somalia. The SATG system included urea, diammonium phosphate, insecticide application, and a greater than average planting population. This research was conducted on seventy-seven farms located near the villages of Afgoi and Awdhegle during the 2014/15 Deyr season and was compared with results from a similar 2014 Gu season trial. Significant plant yield and harvested plant population differences emerged for crop management system, location, and season. In the 2014/15 Deyr season, implementation of the SATG system yielded 124% more grain than the traditional system (SATG = 3,970 kg ha-1) and had 28% more plants at harvest (SATG = 37,300 plants ha-1). Analysis of 2014/15 Deyr season cost and revenue revealed that, while production costs associated with the SATG system were higher than those associated with the traditional system, greater net revenues and profit reliability were observed for the SATG system. When plant growth and yield parameters were compared across seasons, both the SATG and traditional systems exhibited greater yields and harvested plant populations in the 2014 Gu season. In both seasons, the greatest grain yields were observed on farms near Awdhegle. As soil fertility appears to be the primary maize yield constraint in the region, these locational differences may have may have resulted from underlying locational differences in soil electrical conductivity. Throughout the Lower Shebelle, however, implementation of the SATG system appears to increase maize yields and improve farm net income.
Key words: Deyr, fertility, maize, net income, on-farm, Somalia, participatory.
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