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In recent years, sustainable agriculture has become a concern due to the pressures of the increasing fertilizer costs and increased focus on environmental protection.
There is greater attention being paid to the efficient use of external inputs, including fertilizers.
The need to optimize fertilizer inputs to meet crop requirements have also increasingly been identified as priorities for research in feedback from tea stakeholders.
Nitrogen phosphorus and potassium are the major nutrients of tea plant, Camellia sinensis required to achieve commercial levels of production.
Land degradation sets in when the potential productivity associated with a land use system becomes non-sustainable, or when the land is not able to perform its environmental regulatory function.
Restorative management, including appropriate inputs and technology, can reverse the negative effects of over-exploitation by humans.
But lacking the capability or incentives (tenure) to invest in land, small scale farmers tend to over-exploit their limited resources.
In the process, soil, the key component of land, loses quality and becomes infertile, more erodible and compacted.
Kibet Sitienei is a research scientist at Tea Research Foundation of Kenya.
He holds a MSc.
Degree in Environmental Engineering and Management (Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology) and a Proficiency Certificate in Climate Change Adaptation (Technische Universitat Dresden; Germany).
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