Peri-urban Crops

Nutrient fluxes and production efficiency in urban and periurban crops of Faisalabad, Pakistan

Project Leader: Prof. Dr. Andreas Buerkert, Prof. Dr. Iqrar A. Khan
Doctoral Student: Shoaib ur Rehman
Duration: 2009 - 2012
Financing: Pakistan

Faisalabad, a mega city in Pakistan is surrounded by agricultural land on which farmers grow vegetables for market, meeting the nutritional needs of an urban population of more than two million people. Although the use of nutrient rich sewage water along with chemical fertilizer increases agricultural production, leaching and gaseous losses of such substances also pollute the environment, contaminating the atmosphere and ground water. This project aims to analyse the infrastructure of the existing horticultural community in urban and periurban agriculture (UPA) regarding the socioeconomic and production potential of vegetable farming, with the addition of nutrient loss quantification through different means. A baseline survey will be conducted to collect data on socioeconomic activities and production practices. On the basis of the survey analysis, field trials will assess inputs and outputs of the agricultural system in terms of their production efficiencies. Plants, soil, irrigation water, animal manure, dust and rain will be analysed for N, P, K, and C content. A mobile closed chamber system connected to an INNOVA will be used to study vertical nutrient fluxes, analysing gaseous emissions. Leaching will be estimated using a self-integrating accumulator. Horizontal fluxes will be quantified after biomass measurement of the yields of all cultivated crops at harvest time, quantitatively (dry weight), and qualitatively (C, N, P, and K content). Nutrient use and production efficiencies will be assessed for leaching, gaseous losses and biomass removal from the field. The project intends to help develop a more sustainable strategy for the use of on farm available resources.