Inorganic fertilizers negatively affect environment—Research

On 24 April 2021 at 12:02

Rwanda Climate Change and Development Network (RCCDN) has released a report showing that chemical or inorganic fertilizers negatively impact the environment causing soil degradation, contaminate water and threaten biodiversity.

The research findings released yesterday identified gaps in existing policies related to climate change mitigation, agriculture and environment.

The blueprint for agriculture policy designed in 2018 indicate that the country targets to attain food sufficiency by 2030. Moreover, the 2019 environment and climate change policy shows that the country needs to strive for climate-change resilient and green environment posing no health risks to the society.

The research carried out by Dr. John Musemakweli indicates that these policies that seem complementary need much more improvements to ensure green environment and mitigate climate change effects.

The research findings also show that using inorganic fertilizers and poor management of wetlands are major problems affecting environment preservation.

The report reveals that practicing agriculture in marshlands reduces, contaminates marshland water and recommended their proper management without necessarily drawing much attention on agricultural activities but considering the aspect of environment preservation.

On the use of fertilizers and pesticides, the report indicates that they are beneficial on one side but have several disadvantages like soil degradation, water pollution and are harmful to biodiversity.

The report also called for action with recommendations on possible solutions like promoting the use of compost, and environment-friendly pesticides.

André Gatete, an Environment and Climate Change Specialist at the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) has revealed that recommendations from the research are entailed in the ministry’s blueprint but observed that the report does not highlight best practices such as marshland irrigation.

“It is a commendable report. We are glad that your recommendations reflect on the ministry’s plans to practice climate resilient agriculture. I would like to highlight that it is not easy to eliminate the use of inorganic fertilizers because it will take longer. I think we should draw emphasis on using both organic fertilizers and compost at the same time mitigating climate change,” he said.

Bridget Mugambe, the Programme Coordinator at Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) which funds RCCDN has emphasized that they will continue to support efforts tailored towards climate change mitigation in 12 African countries where the organization operates.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Patrick Karera has said that the Government partners with private sector to implement climate change mitigation programs and commended the report for coming up with recommendations to consider until 2030.