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International Journal of Agronomy
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 702506, 8 pages
Research Article

Role of Pigeonpea Cultivation on Soil Fertility and Farming System Sustainability in Ghana

Forest and Horticultural Crops Research Centre, Kade, Institute of Agricultural Research, College of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences, University of Ghana, P.O. Box 68, Legon, Ghana

Received 19 March 2012; Revised 6 June 2012; Accepted 8 June 2012

Academic Editor: Antonio M. De Ron

Copyright © 2012 S. Adjei-Nsiah. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The productivity of the smallholder farming system in Ghana is under threat due to soil fertility decline. Mineral fertilizer is sparingly being used by smallholder farmers because of prohibitive cost. Grain legumes such as pigeonpea can play a complementary or alternative role as a source of organic fertilizer due to its ability to enhance soil fertility. Despite its importance, the potential of pigeonpea as a soil fertility improvement crop has not been exploited to any appreciable extent and the amount of land cultivated to pigeonpea in Ghana is vey negligible. This paper synthesizes recent studies that have been carried out on pigeonpea in Ghana and discusses the role of pigeonpea cultivation in soil fertility management and its implication for farming system sustainability. The paper shows that recent field studies conducted in both the semi-deciduous forest and the forest/savanna transitional agro-ecological zones of Ghana indicate that pigeonpea/maize rotations can increase maize yield by 75–200%. Barrier to widespread adoption of pigeonpea include land tenure, market, and accessibility to early maturing and high yielding varieties. The paper concludes among other things that in order to promote the cultivation of pigeonpea in Ghana, there is the need to introduce varieties that combine early maturity with high yields and other desirable traits based on farmers preferences.