keywords: Soil, management practices, use-levels, constraints, and smallholder farmers
This study was conducted in Nkanu East LGA of Enugu State to assess the soil management practices (SMPs) operated by small holder farmers in the area. Multi-stage random sampling technique was used in the selection of 120 farmers for the study. Data were collected from the respondents through primary source upon the administration of structured questionnaire. The collected data were analysed with descriptive statistics, probability of use-level and tobit regression. The findings from the study showed that the major practices used by the farmers to maintain their soil fertility without adverse effect were application of organic manure, mulching, crop rotation, recycling of crop residue, planting of cover crops, multiple cropping etc. In the utilization of the SMPs, the mean use-level of SMP as obtained from the study was 0.46. This implies that the use-level was low as less than 45% of the farmers had the probability use-level of 0.110 – 0.464. The study indicated that among the factors that determine the SMPs, education, income, farm size and extension visits were significant and positively related to SMP while age and gender were negatively signed and significant at 1% level. The major constraints hindering the farmers from practicing the SMPs were inadequate finance, high cost of labour, cost of SMPs, high cost/unavailability of some farm inputs and poor knowledge of some of the SMPs. Policy measures should aimed at enhancing free access to credit through government’s agencies, promotion of improved SMPs through extension services and design of special programme on on-farm demonstration on soil management for awareness creation among the farmers.