A study was conducted in Hai and Lushoto districts, Northern Tanzania to establish the farmers’ perception of soil fertility problems and their attitudes towards integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) for coffee, thereby identifying the appropriate intervention strategies. The study was based on a structured questionnaire involving 126 respondents. Both farmers’ awareness of the problem and their attitudes were highly significant (at p<0.01). Age, household size, and adoption of improved coffee varieties, affected farmers’ awareness significantly (p<0.05). As for farmers’ attitudes, six of the eight predictors were significant (p<0.05). Age, household size, adoption of new varieties and total farm income were highly significant (p<0.01). Age, total land under coffee and total off-farm income negatively affected farmers’ attitudes. As farmers get older, they tend to refrain from innovation. Larger farms are likely to exert more pressure on the available organic resources. With multiple farms, distant farms are likely to receive less attention. When off-farm income was considered, multiple ventures compete for the farmers’ time, resources and attention. For the two districts, ISFM interventions will make a better impact to younger and more energetic farmers with sufficient lands for commercial coffee production and to farmers who depend largely on this resource for their livelihood.
Key words: Soil fertility, farmers’ perception, integrated soil fertility management (ISFM), coffee, Tanzania.
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