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Green Agriculture Growing in Leaps and Bounds

April 24, 2010

 

A couple of articles showing response to climate change/agricultural conditions.

Full Article at: http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=51138

Organic agriculture using natural farming methods rather than fertilisers and pesticides has made significant gains in African countries – not just among farmers but among consumers too.

Africa needs to triple agricultural productivity by 2050 to keep pace with population growth.

It is difficult to say what the correct level for a country’s food security is, stated Hans Herren, a Swiss agronomist, but if a country could ensure at least 50 percent of the calories its people need, it would be doing well.

Herren, former director of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (Icipe), was participating in a round-table discussion organised by the Media 21 Global Journalism Network in Nairobi, which ended on Friday Apr 16. Icipe is a research institute based in Mbita, Kenya, that studies insects as they “often cause the loss of entire crops and destroy about half of all harvested food in storage”.

According to Food and Agriculture Organisation research by 400 scientists and co-chaired by Herren, small farmers and organic agriculture are the best way to ensure the continent’s food security.

The research report added that large-scale agriculture could help, provided it does not deplete the soil and contribute to climate change. Moreover, trade must become the exception and not the rule.

Some 52 countries were in agreement and adopted the report, called the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), in 2008.

Full Article at: http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=51138

And a similiar article follows

From World Watch

For centuries, farmers in the Sahel—a band of land that crosses Africa at the southern fringe of the Sahara Desert—used rotational tree farming to provide year-round harvests and a consistent source of food, fuel, and fertilizer. But severe droughts and rapid population growth in the 1970s and 80s significantly degraded the Sahel’s farmland, leading to the loss of many indigenous tree species and leaving the soil barren and eroded. With the loss of the trees went the knowledge, traditions, and practices that had kept the region fertile for hundreds of years.

To save the land as well as local livelihoods, many traditional management practices are now being revived. One inexpensive method of farming that helps to restore the Sahel’s degraded land is so-called Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) (see also Millions Fed: “Re-Greening the Sahel: Farmer-led Innovation in Burkina Faso and Niger”). By pruning shoots that periodically and naturally sprout from below-ground root webs, farmers can promote forest growth and take advantage of a naturally occurring source of fuel, food, or animal fodder.

The trees produce fruit rich in nutrients and help to restore the soil by releasing nitrogen and protecting the ground from erosion by wind and rain. The cultivated but naturally occurring forest also creates a local source of firewood and mulch, reducing the time spent in gathering fuel for cooking meals and cleaning households (see Reducing the Things They Carry). The practice also cuts down on deforestation as the trees that are used for fuel are replaced with seedlings and tended by farmers.

From World Watch

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