To bring degraded lands back to life

 

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Restoring lands and livelihoods in Burkina Faso: The business of one association

Effective participation of indigenous peoples and local communities and women in ecosystem restoration is one of the three main principles of the Action Plan on Ecosystem Restoration that the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity are expected to adopt at their next Conference in Cancun in December. Effective participation is both the ends and means of ecosystem restoration, but is not easily achieved.

A Burkinabè association tiipaalga (meaning ‘new tree’) has worked with the country’s farmers for over a decade to help them bring their degraded lands back to life. The organization’s aim is to help improve ecosystems for the purpose of improving the well-being of local households. The organization considers – and calls – farmers its partners. Mr Alain Traoré, Director of tiipaalga, shares insights from his long-term efforts in fostering farmer-led restoration initiatives in Burkina Faso.

This is the fifth blog in the CBD COP13 Forest and Landscape Restoration Blog Serieshighlighting why mainstreaming agricultural and tree biodiversity in sustainable food and production systems is critical to achieve the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, with a particular focus on forest and landscape restoration.

Q: What is tiipaalga’s approach in supporting farmers?

A: Our main approach is assisted natural regeneration, which is a low-cost forest restoration method aimed at accelerating growth of existing natural regeneration by removing competition from weeds and other disturbances and creating a more favorable micro-environment for growth. In some cases, if natural regeneration is not sufficient, planting of valuable species to supplement the existing tree populations (enrichment planting) can be carried out.

While we support planting trees, we recommend farmers only plant in small numbers, to allow them to maintain the trees. There is no point in planting one million trees which we cannot tend. It’s better to plant 10 trees per year and in 50 years we will have all we want. We want our partners [farmers] to be sure to be able to care for their trees so they can bring life; as our slogan says: “a tree for life”.

Read the full article: Bioversity International

One in three people suffers some form of malnutrition – Enormous economic burden

 

Photo credit: FAO

A farming family in Kyrgyzstan takes a break from the day’s work to share a meal.

Malnutrition in the crosshairs

One in three people suffers some form of malnutrition – Enormous economic burden – International meeting searches for ways to improve diets and food systems

Responding to the mounting impacts of malnutrition on public health and economic development — estimated to cost $3.5 trillion per year — via a shift to healthier diets and food systems will be the subject of a high-level symposium kicking off here today.

The International Symposium on Sustainable Food Systems for Healthy Diets and Improved Nutrition (1-2 December) will look at country-level challenges and successes to shed light on effective approaches to reshaping food production, processing, marketing and retail systems to better tackle the problem of malnutrition, which blights the lives of billions of individuals and can trap generations in a vicious cycle of poverty and malnutrition.

Lamenting the fact that one in three people on the planet suffers from some form of malnutrition — either undernutrition or overweight and obesity — FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said that “no country is immune” from the problem whose “human, social, environmental and economic costs are overwhelming” during his opening remarks at the event co-organized by FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Graziano da Silva pledged FAO’s support to help countries “adopt a food systems approach to address all states of the food chain: from production and processing to marketing and consumption.”

“Nutrition must be considered a public issue, a State responsibility,” he said, adding that “consumers must be empowered to choose healthy food and diets” through nutrition-sensitive social protection, nutrition education, and effective and accurate labelling and advertising.

Governments should encourage diversification of agriculture, improved post-harvest management, facilitate market access for poor family farmers and guarantee food-safety, he added.

Read the full article: FAO

 

Drought-tolerant maize seed

 

Promoting drought-tolerant maize seed in Southern Africa

The five-minute video shows CIMMYT’s work in seed systems
development and promotion. The main aim of the seed fairs, held in Mutoko and Murewa districts in Mashonaland East Province, Zimbabwe, was to help smallholder farmers access information that would help them make informed decisions in coping with drought and climate change adaptation.

NEW IMPROVED PIGEONPEA VARIETY

 

Photo credit: ICRISAT

Farmers conducting participatory variety selection in Lundazi district in Zambia (Inset) ICEAP 00554. Photo: ICRISAT

NEW IMPROVED PIGEONPEA VARIETY RELEASED IN ZAMBIA TO WITHSTAND CLIMATE CHANGE

A new medium duration pigeonpea variety MPPV 2 (ICEAP 00554) was released for general cultivation in sole and intercropping systems of Zambia. The new variety has many profitable traits. It has wider climate adaptability and pest tolerance, high yield potential, attractive grains and is suitable to ratooning and can be used as green peas. Pigeonpea is gaining popularity in Zambia, due to its climate adaptability, suitability to prevailing cropping systems, farmers and consumers preference and market opportunities.

MPPV 2 is a distinct, stable and uniform variety with non-determinate and semi-spreading growth habit. It flowers in about 85-90 days and matures in 150-160 days. Each pod contains 6-7 seeds. Shellability of green pods is excellent and the variety is suitable for ratooning.  Seeds are large white/cream with 100-seed mass of 17-19 g. It has excellent dehulling quality of up to 85% and therefore suitable for processing. The potential yield of immature grain is 7-10 tons per hectare and dry grain is 1.8-3.4 tons per hectare.

For over 15 years, Zambia had only one officially released improved pigeonpea variety which was of long duration. Over the years the yields from this variety started dwindling due to climate change characterized by shorter seasons. Therefore the new variety was released by fast tracking efforts after several on-station trials, farmer participatory varietal selection trials, large-scale demonstrations and seed bulking.

Read the full article: Icrisat

RECLAIMING DEGRADED LAND

 

Photo credit: ICRISAT

Women participants with their harvest from crops grown on reclaimed land Photo: S Abdoussalam, ICRISAT

WOMEN FARMERS DOUBLE INCOMES AND ENHANCE HOUSEHOLD NUTRITION BY RECLAIMING DEGRADED LAND

In eastern Niger, 241 hectares of degraded land was converted into productive farms for 10,770 women through the Bio-reclamation of Degraded Lands (BDL) system. This has resulted in a 50% increase in agri-income over non-BDL participants. These impacts are from a mid-term evaluation study conducted at the end of three years of a five-year project.

The results were shared with the local communities in 172 villages in the district of Mayahi (Maradi region) and Kantche (Zinder region) in a series of meetings over the past few months.

The initial results of the impact evaluation conducted by the ICRISAT socio-economics team show that the BDL system had a positive effect on women by giving them access to land and increasing their income. The 0.02 hectare piece of land allocated to each woman in the BDL plot of 1 ha resulted in an average increase in the household income of women participants by 14,345 FCFA (US$26) which is approximately a 50% increase over non-BDL participants. This does not include income from the forestry component, which if added raised the average household income to US$100.

The BDL system has an agroforestry component that incorporates high-value trees and vegetables in a holistic system, with the aim of reversing damage to soils caused by overgrazing and intensive farming. It is a climate-smart technology that helps regenerate the landscape by improving soil fertility through carbon sequestration via tree roots and reducing soil erosion.

The technology developed by ICRISAT had two main components – water harvesting techniques and high-value nutritious trees and annual crops.

Read the full article: ICRISAT

 

HIGH BIOMASS SORGHUM AND PEARL MILLET

 

Photo credit: ICRISAT

Newly developed high biomass sorghum. Photo: B Veera Shetty, ICRISAT

NEWLY DEVELOPED HIGH BIOMASS SORGHUM AND PEARL MILLET A BOON TO 2G BIOFUEL PRODUCTION IN INDIA

The advantages of newly developed high biomass sorghum and pearl millet developed by ICRISAT and Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR) for use as feedstock in second generation or lignocellulosic (2G) biofuel production in India was highlighted at a recent workshop.

The advantageous traits of these dryland crops are wider adaptability, fast growth, high biomass production potential, resilience to drought, and non-compromise on food security as the grain is used for human consumption. The use of these crops in biofuel production has the potential of improving incomes of Indian farmers in the semi-arid regions.

India is a signatory to the UN Climate Change Paris Agreement (COP21) and biofuel production is one of the thrust areas identified to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The country’s ethanol production is mainly from sugarcane molasses. However, considering severe water shortages there is limited scope to increase the production of this water-intensive crop. Hence there is a need to develop newer feedstocks along with supply chain mechanisms and optimized biomass processing technologies for establishing commercial 2G biofuel plants. These plants need to have the capacity to produce sufficient ethanol to augment the blending demands of the country. The government’s current goal is to blend 5% of ethanol in gasoline across the country and increase the blending percentage to 10% in the short run and up to 20% in the next five years.

To develop an action plan to address the above issues, 70 participants representing the Government of India, industry and academia cutting across various specializations met at ICRISAT headquarters.

The main objectives of the workshop were –

Read the full article: ICRISAT

Fuel Wood and Desertification

 

 

Fuel Wood Consumption and Desertification in Nigeria

by Audu, E.B.
Government Secondary School, Lugbe, Along Umaru Musa Yar’adua Way, Abuja – FCT, Nigeria.
ABSTRACT
Uncontrolled population explosion especially in the developing countries, the need and struggle for survival as well as the quest for more comfort are the major causes of environmental resources depletion in the world with particular reference to Nigeria. One of the environmental resources over–exploited in Nigeria without adequate replacement
is vegetation particularly trees.
This paper seeks to look into the degree of fuel wood consumption in Nigeria using data of
the percentage (%) distribution of households by type of fuel for cooking in 2007 , areas of the desert–prone states in km2 and the population figures of the affected states
The results are presented in tables, analyzed using descriptive and comparative methods, discussed with mitigation measures suggested.
The result shows that fuel wood is there about the only means of domestic fire in the desert–prone states leading to desertification as other sources of domestic fire are almost not in use.  It is therefore suggested that other means of domestic fuel such as wind, solar,
kerosene, electricity, coal and gas should be made available at affordable rates and encouraged for use by ensuring continuous and constant supply.
Other measures of mitigating desertification such as afforestation, re–afforestation, creation of more forest and plantation reserves, creation of more shelter belts, controlled grazing and perennial cropping among others were also suggested