Green manure cover crops and agroforestry

 

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COMACO Gliricidia/maize intercropping field. Photo credit: Christian Thierfelder/CIMMYT.

Addressing smallholder farmers’ needs with green manure cover crops and agroforestry in Zambia

 

Read the full story: Africa Rising

A plan of action for family agriculture and rural territorial development

 

Photo credit: UN NEWS CENTRE

Some countries are developing laws on food donations and ways to minimize food losses and waste. Photo: FAO/Rhodri Jones

Latin America and the Caribbean can make hunger history – UN agricultural agency

FAO is developing a plan of action for family agriculture and rural territorial development that promotes sustainable intensification of production, public procurement and food supply systems, rural services and greater opportunities for rural youth.

With continued and strengthened implementation of a regional food security plan, Latin America and the Caribbean could become the first developing region to completely eradicate hunger, the head of United Nations agricultural agency said today.

“This region has all the necessary conditions to achieve this, starting with the great political commitment that sustains the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Food Security, Nutrition and Hunger Eradication Plan,” said the Director-General of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), José Graziano da Silva.

Speaking at the Summit of Presidents and Heads of State and Government of CELAC in Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic, the FAO chief added: “The Plan represents the crystallization of governments’ political will to eradicate hunger before 2025 (five years ahead the target set in the Sustainable Development Goals).”

Approved by CELAC in 2015, the Plan promotes comprehensive public policies to reduce poverty, improve rural conditions, adapt agriculture to climate change, end food waste and mitigate disaster risks.

A key element of the Plan is that it not only focuses on addressing hunger but also obesity, which affects about 140 million people in the region.

According to the FAO, the Plan is also fully in line level global commitments including the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Strengthening family farming to tackle climate change

Mr. Graziano da Silva also highlighted the threats posed by climate change, which has the potential to reverse the gains made in the fight against hunger and extreme poverty in the region.

“Agriculture is the sector most affected by climate change and its main victims are small family farmers, men and women, many of whom struggle daily for their survival,” he noted.

Together with CELAC, FAO is developing a plan of action for family agriculture and rural territorial development that promotes sustainable intensification of production, public procurement and food supply systems, rural services and greater opportunities for rural youth.

Read the full article: UN NEWS CENTRE

The quantity of seed and number of plant varieties available to farmers for planting becomes negatively affected

 

Bioversity  Bioversity International: research for development in agricultural and tree biodiversity

Community seed banks: farmers’ platform for crop conservation and improvement

 

Online article at: www.grainsa.co.za/community-seed-banks:-farmers–platform-for-crop-conservation-and-improvement

In South Africa, as elsewhere, the community systems that have maintained agrobiodiversity are increasingly coming under pressure from factors such as drought, crop failure and difficult storage conditions. As a result, the quantity of seed and number of plant varieties available to farmers for planting becomes negatively affected. With agricultural modernization, farmers are increasingly purchasing more of their seed requirements rendering local seed conservation less important. As commercial varieties replace older local varieties, the older varieties become increasingly unavailable in many communities. The Directorate Genetic Resources of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Bioversity International, and the Departments of Agriculture in Limpopo and Eastern Cape Provinces are working together to set up pilot community seed banks in Mutale and Joe Gcabi Municipalities respectively to guide the development of a national plan aimed to reverse the trend of biodiversity loss.

Read the full story: BIOVERSITY International

Enabling farmers to enhance their incomes.

 

Photo credit: ICRISAT

Demonstration of pigeonpea inter-cultivation. Photo: H Mane, ICRISAT

ENHANCING TRIBAL FARMERS’ INCOMES THROUGH VALUE ADDITION

A dal mill (pigeonpea processing unit) and a sorghum processing unit has been set up to enable farmers in tribal areas of Telangana, India, enhance their incomes. The dal mill will fetch farmers a premium price of around INR 86 per kg instead of the farm gate price of INR 45 per kg as received by farmers during the previous season.

The aim is to eliminate intermediaries and step up farmers in the value chain by enabling them to process their own produce. By establishing direct linkages with retail and corporate actors, an incremental price benefit can be realized in comparison with the traditional market prices. This would also groom the entrepreneurial skills of the tribal farmers in the region.

The dal mill will process around 80 tons of pigeonpea estimated to be harvested in January. The market facilitation would be done by ICRISAT. With an investment of less than USD 10,000 per mill, it is a viable solution for rural areas.

During kharif (rainy) season of 2016, 2 tons of high yielding pigeonpea (ICPH 2740) seeds were distributed to 2000 farmers. These farmers were trained on best practices for pigeonpea cultivation. In addition exposure visits to ICRISAT were organized to address farmers’ queries on the challenges of cultivating pigeonpea. The crop production training at ICRISAT and in their respective mandals (smallest administrative area), ensured that farmers have a better understanding of the newly introduced pigeonpea hybrid in the region. Field visits were taken up by experts to provide timely support on fertilizer and pesticide usage as per field conditions.

Read the full article: ICRISAT

How to solve the problem of hunger and malnutrition ?

 

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Millions of family farmers in developing countries already suffer from lack of access to freshwater. – http://www.fao.org/typo3temp/pics/4be3151e4e.jpg

THE solution of the problem: By offering a cellphone to every family farmer in developing countries, of course.

In the meanwhile, our SEEDS FOR FOOD  and TERRACOTTEM soil conditioning actions will continue their successful and sustainable way to help the local people to vitamins and mineral elements.

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Project in Karting (The Gambia), supported by SEEDS FOR FOOD. Local families are growing new species and varieties of vegetables and herbs, thanks to the seeds collected by people in Europe – Photo credit Stella NYSTEN – 16194974_1363583640350110_578064592581641508_n.jpg

See SEEDS FOR FOOD: https://www.facebook.com/groups/seedsforfood/

 

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Fraternity Wood (Bois de la Fraternisation) in Arbolle (Burkina Faso), tree saplings planted with the soil conditioner TerraCottem in 1988 (together with the Canadian Cooperation); this photo taken 6 years later (1994-07). Not only extremely successful tree growth without any irrigation, but also restoration of local flora (grass cover). Today (2017), local family farmers have installed productive kitchen gardens underneath the trees. A nice form of sustainable combat of malnutrition and hunger – Photo Willem Van Cotthem, Ghent University, Belgium).

See TERRACOTTEM : http://www.terracottem.com/

What smallholders in the drylands should know

 

How to grow fresh food in all kinds of recipients that can hold soil

by Prof. Dr. Willem VAN COTTHEM (Ghent University, Belgium)

Grow your vegetables and herbs at home in pots, buckets, bottles, cups, barrels, bags, sacks, whatever can hold soil.  See some of my photos below:

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Massive production of vegetables and herbs in a small space. Pots and buckets on pallets to limit infection. Photo WVC 2013-07-28 MY NEW EXPERIMENTAL PALLET GARDEN P1100559.
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Cherry tomatoes all year long, zucchinis and bell peppers in pots and buckets with a drainage hole in the sidewall. Maximal production with a minimum of water and fertilizer (compost or manure). Photo WVC 2013-07-28 MY NEW EXPERIMENTAL PALLET GARDEN – P1100561
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Zucchinis in a bucket, as simple as can be. Photo WVC 2013-07-28 MY NEW EXPERIMENTAL PALLET GARDEN – P1100565.
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Tomatoes and zucchinis, not in the field (where they would be infected), but in buckets and pots. Photo WVC 2013-07-28 MY NEW EXPERIMENTAL PALLET GARDEN – P1100568.
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Bell peppers in abundance, not in degraded soil, but in a bucket with a mix of local soil and animal manure. That can be done everywhere, even in Inner Mongolia, the Australian bushland, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Cabo Verde, Arizona, the pampas and in all the refugee camps on Earth. Photo WVC 2013-07-28 MY NEW EXPERIMENTAL PALLET GARDEN – P1100579
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Eggplants, tomatoes, zucchinis, marigolds (to keep the white flies away). See the drainage hole in the sidewall. Photo WVC 2013-07-28 MY NEW EXPERIMENTAL PALLET GARDEN – P1100581 copy.
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Chilli peppers in a bucket. Photo WVC 2013-07-28 MY NEW EXPERIMENTAL PALLET GARDEN – P1100602.

Imagine every family in the drylands, every school, every hospital, every maternity would have a container garden like the one below: wouldn’t you believe that we can alleviate malnutrition and hunger ?  Wouldn’t we have a serious chance to ameliorate the standards of living of all the people living in desertified areas.

Problems ?  What problems ?

Teach the people how to set up a small kitchen garden with some containers and do not forget:

https://containergardening.wordpress.com/2016/12/31/drainage-holes-in-the-sidewall-of-a-container/

They do not have containers ?  Offer them the necessary quantity at the lowest cost, or even for free, because that would be sustainable development in the purest sense.

Let them make their own potting soil by mixing local soil with manure.

Offer them some good quality seeds and teach them how to collect seeds afterwards.

Before rejecting this idea, have a last look at the photo of my experimental garden below and consider the potentialities of this method.

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Photo WVC 2013-07-28 MY NEW EXPERIMENTAL PALLET GARDEN – P1100656, set up to show that production of fresh food with simple and cheap means is so easy that it can be applied all over the world. With some goodwill, of course.

 

Shall we go for the rehabilitation of 2 billion hectares of degraded land in Africa (and how much on the other continents ?), or shall we go for a feasible support of the poorest and hungry people on Earth?

With my warmest wishes for 2017 to you all !

 

 

 

Innovative ways of coping up with climate change

 

Photo credit: SciDevNet: Farm Africa/ Tara Carey

Smallholders team up to confront climate change impacts

by Baraka Rateng’

Farmers in Mwingi, a remote, arid and impoverished region of Kitui County of Kenya have been experiencing unreliable rain patterns and problems associated with droughts.

Smallholder farmers have been losing up to about 80 per cent of their recent harvest, many water sources have dried up and some are having to travel up to 20 kilometres to collect water. Much of the water that is available is of poor quality, with some containing a high salt content, making it unsuitable for drinking or agricultural use.

But thanks to formation of a community-based organisations (CBOs) such as Kitum Community-based Organisation, with 176 members, the farmers are now devising innovative ways of coping up with climate change-related impacts that inflict untold sufferings upon them.

Read the full article: SciDevNet