Organic fertilizers can serve as an element of transitions to sustainable low-input agriculture in semi-arid regions of the MENA region. They play a key role in supporting soil biota and soil fertility. Yield improvements, availability and relatively low costs make organic fertilizers an attractive alternative for farmers. In semi-arid regions, important considerations are improved soil quality, which in turn affects soil water retention, while better root development helps crops resist heat and water stress. Organic fertilizers thus support climate adaptation and regional food security. Soil quality is crucial for carbon sequestration, at the same time that increased nutrient retention reduces impacts of agricultural runoff on groundwater and water bodies. Factors that impede the generalised use of organic fertilizers include lack of expertise, subsidy structures, constraints of the wider food and agricultural systems, and difficulties in transitioning from conventional agriculture. Such obstacles are aggravated in countries affected by security issues, financial volatility or restrictions in access to market. Against the background of both general and local constraints, the chapter examines possible pathways to benefit from organic fertilizers, in particular synergies with other sustainable agricultural practices, as well as improved access to expertise.
Part of the book: New Generation of Organic Fertilizers