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26 Chapter 4 Improved

26 Chapter 4 Improved Technology Use

15 Adoption of improved agricultural technology by farmers can contribute to an economically efficient farm sector, and to the financially viability for farmers through improved production and productivity. In this section, we look at the performance of the agricultural sector in terms of the two key productivity enhancing technologies; fertilizer use and improved seed. 4.1 Fertilizer Use Figure 7A shows the percentage of households that used fertilizer over the period 2002 to 2016. Nationally, about 58.4 percent of rural households reported using fertilizer in the 2015/16 agricultural season. This fertilizer was mostly earmarked for maize. The proportion of households using fertilizer decreased by one percentage point from 59.2 % in 2015. In 2016, fertilizer use varied by province, with Lusaka having the highest percentage (76.4 percent) of farmers that used fertilizer, followed closesly by Central with 75.5 percent. Western Province on the other hand had the least percentage of farmers that used fertilizer, with only 11.7 percent reporting using fertilizer in 2015/16 agricultural season (Figure 7B). The total fertilizer used among the smallholder farmers in Zambia declined by 21.9%, from 348,764 metric tonnes (MT) to 272,764 MT (CFS report, 2016). Over the past decade or so, there has been an upward increase in the percentage of farmers reporting using fertilizer as well as the rate of fertilizer application (Figure 7A). Across all rural agricultural households, the average fertilizer use per hectare in 2016 was 100.7 kilograms per hectare among fertilizer users compared to 120.7 kilograms per hectare in 2015, a 16.6 percent decrease. Figure 7A: Fertilizer use and rate of use among smallholder farmers, 2002 to 2016 Source: Crop Forecast Survey (2003 – 2016)

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