Resource Details

Sesbania sesban improved fallows in eastern Zambia: Their inception, development and farmer enthusiasm

Literature: Journal Articles Available at NO COST

Kwesiga, F. R., Steve Franzel, Frank Place, Donald Phiri, and C. P. Simwanza. 1999. "Sesbania sesban improved fallows in eastern Zambia: Their inception, development and farmer enthusiasm." Agroforestry systems, vol. 47, no. 1, pp. 49-66.

Contact Info

Corresponding author:


  • SADC-ICRAF Agroforestry Research Project, P.O. Box MP 163 Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe
  • International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF), P.O. Box 30677, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Zambia/ICRAF/AFRENA Agroforestry Project, c/o Eastern Provincial Agricultural Office, P.O. Box 510046, Chipata, Zambia


Springer Link

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Species Info

  • Sesbania sesban
  • Tephrosia vogelii
  • Cajanus cajan


  • This article reviews the use of Sesbania sesban, a local nitrogen fixing tree, to improve soil fertility in corn fields in Zambia. Nitrogen fertilizers are key to raising crop yields but they are expensive for small farmers.
  • Sesbania seedlings were transplanted as bare root from raised-beds. In experimental plots, planting corn in the fallows after 2-3 years of Sesbania growth gave higher yields of corn (4.9 Mg / ha compared to 1.9 Mg / ha in the first year) (plus the firewood obtained from the Sesbania). Yields after Sesbania fallows were comparable to yields with N fertilizer inputs.
  • Economic analyses showed that the implementation of the Sesbania fallows would be profitable for the farmers, given the rise in corn yields, especially in areas of labor shortage. Fallows of two years were the most profitable. Seedlings were a significant cost.
  • Farmers also experimented with Tephrosia vogelii and Cajanus cajan (pigeon pea), but Sesbania had the highest survival (greater resistance to drought and browsing). Authors report high rates of enthusiasm from local farmers for the use of Sesbania in corn fallow rotations.

Geographical Region

  • Southern Africa
  • Central Africa
  • Ecosystems

  • General
  • Country

  • Zambia
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