Each step is expected to provide the management skills that result in yield and improvements in agronomic efficiency (Figure 2). Complete ISFM comprises the use of improved germplasm, fertiliser, appropriate organic resource management and local adaptation. Figure 2 is not necessarily intended to prioritise interventions but rather suggests a need for sequencing towards complete ISFM. It does however depict key components that lead to better soil fertility management. For less-responsive soils, investment in soil fertility rehabilitation will be required before fertiliser AE will be enhanced.

Integration of ISFM principles in farming systems

Principles embedded within the definition of ISFM need to be applied within existing farming systems. Two examples clearly illustrate the integration of ISFM principles in existing cropping systems: (i) dual purpose grain legume – maize rotations with P fertiliser targeted at the legume phase and N fertiliser at rates below those recommended that are targeted at the cereal phase in the moist savanna agro-ecozone (Sanginga et al., 2003) (Figure 3) and (ii) micro-dose fertiliser applications in legume-sorghum or legume-millet rotations with retention of crop residues and combined with water harvesting techniques in the semi-arid agro-ecozone (Bationo et al., 1998).