CGIAR innovations

 

SIAC mid-term workshops are an attempt to stock take funded studies, and through discussions provide feedback on analysis approach and preliminary results. The 30th July workshop focuses on the seven (7) studies funded under SIAC 3.1 – these are a rather diverse set of studies, some quite macro in nature, that assess the adoption and impact of a number of technologies that have apparently spread widely. Description of these studies (including the CGIAR innovation under study), early results and snapshot of discussions follow.

C88, for instance, which is a late blight resistant variety has been claimed by CIP as one of its most successful varieties. Considering the extension efforts in China to promote potatoes – the study focuses on Yunnan province which accounts for 10% of the Chinese potato production – and, expert estimate that 33% of potato varieties in China can be traced to CIP germplasm, this study carefully examines the adoption (including through DNA fingerprinting), the determinants of adoption, and consumer/producer surplus through household and community surveys. Data from another SIAC activity suggests that C88 is an important crop in the (main) early spring season (around 16% of all cultivated varieties, 400K ha), and a significant winter crop variety (around 50%, 60K ha). So, what is the story of C88 as revealed by this study (so far)?

The focus of DNA fingerprinting (leaf or tuber samples, SSR marker) was not to identify the range of potato varieties – it was to confirm that the potatoes grown by households that self-identified the variety as C88 was indeed C88. 137 of the 141 fresh samples were confirmed to be C88 suggesting that C88 self-identification by farmers is not an issue. What we don’t know yet is the varietal identity of potatoes in households that do not self-report C88 – are they growing C88 and are we underestimating C88 diffusion in Yunnan? What are the varieties that C88 has not replaced or have that replaced C88 following dis-adoption? There are also questions about the dynamics of adoption over time: for instance, farmers recycle seeds and seed degradation could be an issue. While preliminary analysis suggests that current disease pressure and adoption is related, farmers who value blight resistance are less likely to continue growing C88 over time – plausibly suggesting that farmers are constantly looking for resistant varieties and dis-adopt C88 over time as seed degeneration occurs. Seed degeneration might also account for up to 25% of yield loss. Location is also found to be critical for adoption: farmers close to urban areas are likely to have grown C88 at some point in the past, but much less likely to grow it now. There are also some interesting issues raised by value chain providers – chip manufacturers prefer C88 because of its quality, but are forced to source other varieties from other provinces because high quality C88 potatoes are not available.

Read the full article: CGIAR

 

Success stories about food crops and drought-resistant plants

 

 

 

2016-04 SUCCESS STORIES: FOOD CROPS AND DROUGHT-RESISTANT SPECIES TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION AND POVERTY

by Prof. Dr. Willem Van Cotthem (Ghent University, Belgium)

Please read this article at:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pa78SSwsJwsGaAGKkQC0tzthCJZSmiWFdJXx3Z8ZOeU/edit?usp=sharing

HOW MUCH LONGER WILL THE OTHER DRYLAND COUNTRIES WAIT TO FOLLOW THIS EXAMPLE ?

AND WHAT ABOUT THE GROWTH OF OPUNTIA IN AND AROUND THE REFUGEE CAMPS ?  IT’S A SUCCESS STORY. IT’S COMMON SENSE !

One can eat the Opuntia cactus pads (see “nopales”), drink pad soup, eat the fruits (barbary figs), make jam, use it as fodder for the livestock, ground the seeds to produce an oil, produce cosmetics and medicine against blood pressure and cancer.

Look at the nice picture above. It could have been taken in any desert or desertification affected country. What do you need more to be convinced ?  Well, maybe first read about Morocco’s initiative below !

Prof. Dr. Willem Van Cotthem (Ghent University, Belgium)

==============================================================

Photo credit: BBC NEWS

Women farmers find cactus plants are a real money spinner

Cactus commerce boosts Morocco

By Sylvia Smith
BBC News, Sbouya, Morocco

Opuntia in Yemen - Photo Yemen Times 1799-4117 - - get_img
Opuntia in Yemen – Photo Yemen Times 1799-4117 – – get_img

It is just after dawn in the hills above the Moroccan hamlet of Sbouya and a group of women are walking through the thousands of cactus plants dotted about on the hillside, picking ripe fruits whenever they spot the tell-tale red hue.

But these woman are not simply scraping a living out of the soil.

The cactus, previously eaten as a fruit or used for animal feed, is creating a minor economic miracle in the region thanks to new health and cosmetic products being extracted from the ubiquitous plant.

This prickly pocket of the semi-arid south of the country around the town of Sidi Ifni is known as Morocco’s cactus capital.

It is blessed with the right climate for the 45,000 hectares (111,000 acres) of land that is being used to produce prodigious numbers of succulent Barbary figs.

Every local family has its own plot and, with backing from the Ministry of Agriculture, the scheme to transform small scale production into a significant industry industry is under way.

Some 12m dirhams ($1.5m) have been pledged to build a state-of-the-art factory that will help local farmers process the ripe fruits.

The move is expected to help workers keep pace with the requirements of the French cosmetics industry which is using the cactus in increasing numbers of products.

_46109458_46107440
Barbary fig (Opuntia ficus-indica, prickly pear) oil is a lucrative market – http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/46109000/jpg/_46109458_46107440.jpg

Lucrative

Izana Marzouqi, a 55-year-old member of the Aknari cooperative, says people from the region grew up with the cactus and did not realise its true benefit.

“Demand for cactus products has grown and that it is because the plant is said to help with high blood pressure and cancer. The co-operative I belong to earns a lot of money selling oil from the seeds to make anti-ageing face cream.”

Read the full article: BBC NEWS

 

A new success story in India

Photo credit: IWMI-CGIAR

Adjusting a sprinkler, India. Photo: Alexis Liu, IWMI

 

Irrigation for the nation

How one Indian state is leading the way on farm water supply

India’s farmers have often struggled to secure reliable water supplies. For much of the country, rainfall is concentrated during the monsoon, leaving the rest of the year dry. If the monsoon fails, destitution can threaten many millions. The country’s media regularly highlights the tragic numbers of farmer suicides as a graphic illustration of just how precarious agriculture can be.

So the Indian Prime Minister’s recent promise of “har khet ko pani” (water to every farm) must have been welcomed by many. But just how realistic is this? Can publicly funded irrigation policy really give every smallholder a guaranteed supply of water?

In response to the new announcement, the IWMI-Tata Water Policy Research Program had undertaken an analysis of irrigation reform in several Indian states. A synthesis of their findings has just been published and cautions that money needs to be carefully targeted if farmers are to truly benefit.

“Spending billions of rupees on grand irrigation projects is risky,” says IWMI’s Tushaar Shah, one of the report’s authors. “But some states have managed to invest effectively in irrigation improvements, and it is important that those lessons are shared.”

 

Power to the farmers

Firstly a distinction needs to be made between large public canal irrigation, and smaller on-farm investments such as tube wells and pump sets. Farmers want as much control over their water supply as possible, which generally makes wells and ponds preferable to big canal schemes, which have often been poorly managed. The downside is that on-farm irrigation usually requires power to run water pumps – a commodity that can be in short supply in India’s chaotic electricity supply network.

Read the full article: IWMI

Success stories and best practices to combat desertification

 

Iran 2002 : Meeting of TPN3 – Demonstration site for best practices of sand dune fixation

Photo WVC 2002-12-20 – TPN3-05- Rui ZHENG, Representative of the UNCCD.jpg

 

PEOPLE FOR ACTION, an electronic network for combating desertification

 

by Prof. Dr. Willem Van Cotthem (University of Ghent, Belgium).

 

Originally published at:

https://desertification.wordpress.com/2007/03/26/people-for-action-network-unccd-info-001/

 

At the end of 2002, I launched an electronic network for people interested in all aspects of desertification and poverty. In 2006, this network had already more than 1000 members. On the demand of the UNCCD, it has been taken over by the Secretariat of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST), but only for a period of 6 months (until the end of 2006).

In March 2007, trying to keep this network alive and looking for opportunities to network organisations and individuals with interest in desertification, I used my desertification blog (https://desertification.wordpress.com/) to collect information and make the data available over the internet.

This blog aims at bringing all these people closer to one another, as they all have the same attention for combating desertification and alleviating hunger and poverty.

In the coming period, I will try to compose a sort of historical review of the most important contributions to the PEOPLE FOR ACTION-network. I am convinced that, looking back at the last period (1994-2007), we will find a lot of data to be reviewed in the light of recent events, particularly the successes booked and the best practices documented.

Dec 2002 TPN3-11a---Iran
Photo WVC Dec 2002 TPN3-11a—Iran.jpg

IRAN 2002: Representatives of different countries inspecting field work for the demonstration of best practices and success stories for sand dune fixation in TPN3 countries

Photo WVC Dec 2002 TPN3-11a—Iran.jpg

 

A NICE START IN 2002

One of the important messages and conclusions of UNCCD’s CRIC1 in Rome (11-22/12/02) was that there is an urgent need for exchange of information within a network of individuals interested in the desertification problems. Many of us enjoyed in Rome very much the presentations of case studies and the ensuing discussions, although seemingly there was no time left for in-depth analysis or exchanges of views on the situation in other countries than those who presented the case studies. Nevertheless, CRIC1 was a real success!

Most of the participants will remember that single sentence, repeatedly coming up in different interventions from the podium and the floor : There is no more time for talking, only time for action !.

I had a couple of times the privilege and the pleasure of reminding my colleagues in Rome that “REAL ACTION” should be launched by selecting a small number of success stories (best practices) and applying these in small scale projects, but in a large number of countries in all regions.

The TPNs (Thematic Program Networks) seem to be an excellent forum for setting up such comparative initiatives (see the pilot projects of the Asian TPN3 on sand dune fixation and rangeland management to be launched in Iran 2002). It goes without saying that we still need to exchange a lot of ideas on the way such actions could be optimally planned.

In order to enable a large number of colleagues and friends to participate in this exchange, I take today, March 26th, 2007, the liberty of sending this message to a list of email addresses stocked in my computer, asking first of all if you are interested in receiving from time to time my messages concerning desertification aspects. IF NOT, PLEASE SEND ME A SHORT NOTE TO TAKE YOU OFF MY NETWORK LIST.

2002-05-UNCCD-TPN4b
2002-05-UNCCD-TPN4b.jpg

In Aleppo (Syria) 2002-05: TPN4, fraternising with the Chinese delegation

Photo WVC 2002-05-UNCCD-TPN4b.jpg

 

Maybe you have from time to time some interesting information for our network? Please do not hesitate to send it to me and I will forward it to all the members of the network. It is my intention to create in this way a functional network of individuals interested in desertification under the umbrella of the UNCCD. Through our exchanges we will be gradually in a better position to bridge the intersessional periods of COPs and CRICs. I hope you will contribute to it in a very effective way, by sending comments on former messages, by sending important information yourself and especially by promoting the real CCD-family spirit.  Success stories and best practices: that’s what we need to apply at the largest scale.  Let’s go for it !

Today, Feb. 23, 2016, this blog registered 1,997,548 hits.  Not bad, don’t you think ?

 

World Day to Combat Desertification

Photo credit: Google – Imgres.jpg

 

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

World Day to Combat Desertification to be held on 17 June 

Let us find long‐term solutions, not just quick fixes, to disasters that are
destroying communities,” urged Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD.(See PRESS RELEASE below).

COMMENTS

Willem Van Cotthem: We keep hoping that success stories and best practices will be applied at the global level. Priority should be given to methods and techniques providing daily fresh food to the hungry and malnourished. It cannot be denied that hunger and malnutrition are constantly undermining the performances of people. Application of existing success stories in local food production (kitchen gardens, school gardens, hospital gardens, …) would positively influence the efforts to combat desertification (limiting erosion, stimulating reforestation, etc.). We keep hoping.

ReplyUnited Nations Convention to Combat Desertification Hi Willem Van Cotthem, would you like to share some success stories you have? We always welcome all to share!”

       ReplyWillem Van Cotthem : Hello Friends at the UNCCD Secretariat: It will be my pleasure to select a series of success stories in the literature. However, I am convinced that the UNCCD secretariat has the necessary documentation to compile even a book on this subject (to the best of my knowledge the documents, e.g. presentations at COPs and meetings of CST and CRIC, have been there during my active period in the CST and in Bonn). Please consider a consultancy to achieve top class work that would serve all member countries, the CST and the CRIC. To be presented at the next World Day June 17th 2016.

PRESS RELEASE
UNCCD’s Monique Barbut Calls for Long‐Term Solutions Not Just Quick Fixes To Drought Bonn, Germany, 22/02/2016 –
“Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People. This is the slogan for this year’s World Day to Combat Desertification to be held on 17 June. I am calling for solidarity from the international community with the people who are battling the ravages of drought and flood. Let us find long‐term solutions, not just quick fixes, to disasters that are destroying communities,” urged Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
The droughts and floods beating down on communities in many parts of the world are linked to the current El Niño, which is expected to affect up 60 million people by July. In some areas, including in North Eastern Brazil, Somali, Ethiopia, Kenya and Namibia, the El Niño effects are coming on the back of years of severe and recurrent droughts. It is impossible for households that rely on the land for food and farm labor to recover, especially when the land is degraded.
What’s more, these conditions do not just devastate families and destabilize communities. When they are not attended to urgently, they can become a push factor for migration, and end with gross human rights abuses and long‐term security threats.
“We have seen this before – in Darfur following four decades of droughts and desertification and, more recently, in Syria, following the long drought of 2007‐2010. It is tragic to see a society breaking down when we can reduce the vulnerability of communities through simple and affordable acts such as restoring the degraded lands they live on, and helping countries to set up better systems for drought early warning and to prepare for and manage drought and floods,” Barbut said.
Ms Barbut made the remarks when announcing the plans for this year’s World Day to Combat Desertification, which will take place on 17 June.
“I hope that World Day to Combat Desertification this year marks a turning point for every country. We need to show, through practical action and cooperation, how every country is tacking or supporting these challenges at the front‐end to preempt or minimize the potential impacts of the disasters, not just at the back‐end after the disasters happen,” she stated.
The United Nations General Assembly designated 17 June as the observance Day to raise public awareness about international efforts to combat desertification and the effects of drought.
Ms Barbut thanked the Government and People of China, for offering to host the global observance event, which will take place at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
“China has vast experience in nursing degraded lands and man‐made deserts back to health. This knowledge can and should benefit initiatives such as Africa’s Great Green Wall, the re‐ greening in southern Africa and the 20 X 20 Initiative in Latin America. We can create a better, more equal and climate change‐resilient world,” she noted.
“I also call on countries, the private sector, foundations and people of goodwill to support Africa  when the countries meet later in the year to develop concrete plans and policies to pre‐ empt, monitor and manage droughts,” Ms Barbut stated.
The 2016 World Day campaign is also advancing the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in September last year. The Goals include a target to achieve a land degradation‐neutral world by 2030. That is, a world where the land restored back to health equals to, or is more than, the amount degraded every year.
For more information on the Day and previous events, visit: http://www.unccd.int/en/programmes/Event‐and‐campaigns/WDCD/Pages/default.aspx
For background information and materials for the 2016 Observance, visit: For information about the Global Observance event, visit: http://www.unccd.int/en/programmes/Event‐and‐ campaigns/WDCD/wdcd2016/Pages/default.aspx
Contact for World Day to Combat Desertification: Yhori@unccd.int
For Media information: wwischnewski@unccd.int

Grow food on an A-riser or a H-riser to alleviate malnutrition

Photo credit: 

* Wooden Riser A-form – Photo Jojo ROM – 283225_4230820167045_1991451138_n.jpg

One of the best practices: The A-riser or the H-riser

By Willem Van Cotthem (University of Ghent, Belgium)

My good friend Jojo ROM (Davao City, The Philippines) is one of the famous experts on container gardening.  He was one of the first to construct in his own backyard an A-riser on which he grew (and still grows) vegetables and herbs in different types of containers.

It has been clearly shown that this is one of the best practices to grow vegetables and herbs in the smallest space.  As container gardening has many advantages over traditional gardening (mostly in bad soils !), this successful method deserves to be promoted at the global level, in particular in an environment with poor soils, e.g. in the drylands.

One of the applications to be strongly recommend is: construction of risers for the refugee camps, where people never have sufficient space or the necessary means to install a kitchen garden for their family.  Imagine the refugees’ joy being enabled to grow fresh food close to their tents: interesting time spending, being busy for a nice part of the day, and producing their own fresh food, herbs and mint for their tea.

Impossible you say ?  Have a look at the pictures below and convince yourself that minimal investment in risers loaded with containers will automatically yield a maximal food production.

You want to forget about the refugee camps ?  OK !  But please remain convinced that risers can be installed in small backyards and even on a flat roof, all over the world, also in your own neighbourhood.

Now then, enjoy the pictures !

* Wooden Riser - A-form - Photo Jojo ROM - 942231_10200263483608038_661084805_n
* Wooden Riser – A-form with bottles – Photo Jojo ROM – 942231_10200263483608038_661084805_n

* Riser - Bottles, Tetrapots - Photo Jojo ROM - 299197_2027431123696_1181604134_31907234_795222_n
* Riser – with bottles and tetrapots – Photo Jojo ROM – 299197_2027431123696_1181604134_31907234_795222_n

* Bamboo Riser with clay pots - Photo Victor S. Cabag (Philippines)  - 10422170_10201509648703265_4177847876384089747_n
* Bamboo Riser with clay pots – Photo Victor S. Cabag (Philippines) – 10422170_10201509648703265_4177847876384089747_n

* Riser with jugs - Photo Berlin ramos Sadler - 528880_3501510093823_1437046645_n
* Riser with jugs – Photo Berlin Ramos Sadler – 528880_3501510093823_1437046645_n

* Riser -with bottles, canisters and tetrapots - Photo Almar B. Autida430068_2870346474042_1121267916_32155811_1625702319_n
* Riser with bottles, canisters and tetrapots – Photo Almar B. Autida – 430068_2870346474042_1121267916_32155811_1625702319_n

* Riser - bottles and jugs - Photo Berlin Ramos Sadler - 549094_3575738549488_607260712_n
* Riser with bottles and jugs – Photo Berlin Ramos Sadler – 549094_3575738549488_607260712_n

* Riser with different containers - Photo Fe Mondejar - 66729_373215606134201_1286771557_n
* A simple riser with different containers – Photo Fe Mondejar – 66729_373215606134201_1286771557_n

*  An impressive riser for massive food production - Photo Almar B. Autida - 10255663_10201730750126773_1525730629288922985_n
* An impressive riser for massive food production – Photo Almar B. Autida – 10255663_10201730750126773_1525730629288922985_n

* Riser A-form with canisters and tetrapots - Photo Almar B. Autida - 578325_3062890287517_1121267916_32233687_1268465493_n
* Riser with canisters and tetrapots – Photo Almar B. Autida – 578325_3062890287517_1121267916_32233687_1268465493_n

* Riser with jugs - Photo Ako Si Arvin - 9999_363495210436408_1949884367_n
* Riser with jugs – Photo Ako Si Arvin – 9999_363495210436408_1949884367_n

* Riser - different containers with flowers - Photo Berlin Ramos Sadler - 538869_3628175340375_1965966353_n
* Riser – different containers with flowers – Photo Berlin Ramos Sadler – 538869_3628175340375_1965966353_n

* Riser - H-form -Photo Big Bug Creek Farm Store and Garden Center - 971804_565714960118122_175305211_n
* Riser – H-form – Photo Big Bug Creek Farm Store and Garden Center – 971804_565714960118122_175305211_n

* Philippinos constructing a metal riser - A-form - 12003284_1255229017836495_6671859800920701771_n
* Constructing a metal riser – A-form – in The Philippines -12003284_1255229017836495_6671859800920701771_n

 * Constructing a metal riser - A-form - in The Philippines -11218075_1255229134503150_2797106863206369602_n
* Constructing a metal riser – A-form – in The Philippines -11218075_1255229134503150_2797106863206369602_n

————————-

Still not convinced about the great value of this method to alleviate malnutrition and hunger ?  Please, send us your better idea.

Enhancing resilience to drought events

Photo credit: New Era

Namibia to Host Drought Conference

logo

Namibia will host another first for the country when it facilitates the Ministry of Environment and Tourism’s African Drought Conference under the theme: “Enhancing resilience to drought events on the African continent” at a local hotel from May 11 to 15, 2015.

Africa is highly vulnerable to drought events with about a third of the population living in drought-prone areas and 97 percent of agriculture being rain-fed.

Drought has devastating economic, environment and social impacts in terms of loss of human life, food insecurity, reduced agricultural productivity, and degradation of natural resources. Namibia is the driest country south of the Sahara and is currently suffering the effects of another drought.

The majority of African countries continue to be inadequately prepared to cope with droughts, which are set to become more frequent with climate change.

Only a few countries in the world have fully-fledged drought management policies, while interventions in most countries tend to focus on reacting after the event rather than mitigating the impacts of drought through enhancing preparedness over the long term.

——

The overall objective of the conference would be to develop an overarching strategic framework for Africa to enhance its resilience to the impact of drought events. The specific objectives of the conference would be to:

  • Focus regional and international attention on the issue of drought mitigation;
  • Identify needs and shortcomings as well as good practices in the area of drought mitigation;
  • Move towards a framework for enhance resilience to drought impacts on the African continent; and
  • Strengthen partnerships and cooperation for enhanced drought resilience.

Read the full article: New Era

See also: This Day Live

 

Southern Africa’s Smallholder Farmers

Photo credit: IPS

The Dube AgriZone facility currently incorporates 16 hectares of greenhouses, making it the largest climate-controlled growing area under glass in Africa. Credit: FAO

High-Tech to the Rescue of Southern Africa’s Smallholder Farmers

Chronic and acute food insecurity remain major risks and Southern Africa still faces enormous challenges in trying to transform and commercialise its largely small holder-based agricultural systems through accelerated integration into competitive markets in a rapidly globalising world.

By Kwame Buist

EXCERPT

Agriculture is the major employer and a backbone of the economies of Southern Africa.

However, the rural areas that support an agriculture-based livelihood system for the majority of the nearly 270 million people living in the region are typically fragile and there is wide variability in the development challenges facing the countries of the region.

The agricultural sector is dominated by crop production, although the share of livestock production and other agriculture practices have been increasing.

Building on what works

As one example of the best practices under the scrutiny of the meeting, participants took part in a field visit to the Dube AgriZone facility – a high-tech agricultural development initiative pioneered by the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government.

The facility aims to stimulate the growth of KwaZulu-Natal’s perishables sector and aims to achieve improved agricultural yields, consistent quality, year-round production and improved management of disease and pests.

The facility – strategically located 30 km north of the important coastal city of Durban – currently incorporates 16 hectares of greenhouses, making it the largest climate-controlled growing area under glass in Africa.

Its primary focus is on the production of short shelf-life vegetables and cut flowers which require immediate post-harvest airlifting and supply to both domestic and export markets.

Read the full article: IPS

Soil restorations: mulching, composting, erosion checks, biochar

Photo credit: Permaculture News

The practical on-ground (demonstration) site of The Ghana Permaculture Institute

Regenerative/Permaculture Practice in Ghana

by Matthew Onyeanula

EXCERPT

The Ghana Permaculture Institute was established in 2004 And is located in Techiman of the Brong Ahafo Region in Ghana It has two sites, one a Lecture site located in the city while the other site a practical on-ground (demonstration) site.

The demonstrated site located in Tanoboase near Baafi initially had degraded due to the fact that the top soils had been removed through erosion caused by deforestation and poor agriculture techniques. We have been doing a lot of land restorations through using techniques such as mulching, composting, erosion checks more. The demonstration site is now a place to behold as plants are doing very well together with the environment.

Vertical gardening, successes on saline soils

Photo credit: Scientific American

Gardening on towers and sacks. Photo: Amy Yee

Vertical Gardens Beat Soil Made Salty by Climate Change

Saltwater is shrinking Bangladesh’s arable land, but a simple approach of planting crops in containers shows surprising success

By Amy Yee

EXCERPT

The soil in Chandipur village in southwest Bangladesh has become increasingly salty because of incursions of seawater. The situation became particularly acute in the aftermath of Cyclone Aila in 2009, which brought storm surges that broke embankments and flooded farmland. After 2009 vegetable crops planted in the ground there yielded only meager returns—if they didn’t fail completely.

Sack gardening in Uganda - eggplants - Photo Vermicomposters - African_Gardens_Uganda_bag_garden_Douglas copy.jpg
Sack gardening in Uganda – eggplants – Photo Vermicomposters – African_Gardens_Uganda_bag_garden_Douglas copy.jpg

But for the past three years hundreds of villagers have enjoyed the bounty of so-called vertical gardens—essentially crops grown in a variety of containers in backyards and on the rooftops of their humble homes. Despite their modest size, these gardens produce quite a bit.

Working with local nonprofits WorldFish trained about 200 villagers in four districts in saline-affected areas of southwestern Bangladesh to make vertical gardens. Others not in the program have copied their neighbors’ designs after seeing how well they worked. WorldFish plans to expand the program to include 5,000 people over the next two years.

Sack gardening - onion - Photo Ville Farm - 625641_134848003355532_1593377365_n copy.jpg
Sack gardening – onion – Photo Ville Farm – 625641_134848003355532_1593377365_n copy.jpg

Growing the vertical gardens is a relatively straightforward process. Villagers harvest soil after the rains, around November, and use it later during planting season. They put the soil into containers and mix it with fertilizer made of dried water hyacinth, soil, coconut husks and cow manure. The containers range from plastic rice and concrete sacks to large, specially constructed “towers” made of simple plastic sheets encased by bamboo rings.

Gardening on garbage big bags - Photo Crops in pots Treehugger 404459_315544111821294_262706507105055_858274_1606004967_n copy.jpg
Gardening on garbage big bags – Photo Crops in pots Treehugger 404459_315544111821294_262706507105055_858274_1606004967_n copy.jpg

To prevent waterlogging, the containers are raised off the ground on bricks and filled with brick chips that improve water circulation and drainage. Small holes are cut into the sides where short-rooted vegetables such as Indian spinach and tomatoes can grow. Long-rooted vegetables such as gourds grow on top. These sacks can produce up to eight kilograms of vegetables in one season with an investment of 100 to 150 taka (about $1.30 to $2) per bag. The tower variety of container measures more than 1.2 meters across and can produce more than 100 kilograms of vegetables. One tower requires an investment of about 900 to 1,000 taka (around $11.50 to $13.00) to buy materials and seeds. WorldFish provides seeds and some materials to villagers in the first year.

Read the full article: Scientific American

 

Arid Lands Restoration and Combat of Desertification

Photo credit: Pixabay

Drylands in Dubai

Ecological Restoration of Dryland Areas

A message of Alice Maria Rodrigues Nunes

The Working Group 3 of COST Action ES1104, ‘Arid Lands Restoration and Combat of Desertification: Setting Up a Drylands and Desert Restoration Hub’ kindly invites you to answer to the questionnaire on the ecological restoration of dryland areas.

The aim of the survey is to establish current knowledge of best practice for drylands restoration and to look towards innovation in this important field, by gauging the range of ecological restoration projects that have been implemented not only in Europe but also in other parts of the world. You may find attached an invitation letter from the Chair of the COST Action ES1104, Dr Dr Benz Kotzen.

The questionnaire is divided in two parts (A and B).

If you have not had the opportunity to complete Part A before, which gathers information about the contributing expert answering the survey and the restoration project area, you can still do so by following the link below to part A, which should take you no more than 5 minutes to complete:

Part A: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1JAJoSmYopB8im47ObAuUGwZNSw7KOE2iuc2Gm1oLr58/viewform?usp=send_form

If you already filled in part A, we kindly invite you to complete part B. It addresses in more detail restoration: i) context and motivation; ii) planning, practice and maintenance; iii) criteria for plant species selection; iv) monitoring and outcome; and v) costs and benefits. Please follow the link below to part B, which should take you no more than 30 minutes to complete: 

Part B: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1WQhLGJMAtKtnM_zm2QVOnYmelBTfJ3nqeTsZDkpeV-o/viewform?usp=send_form

Please will you kindly complete the part B of the survey by 15/02/2015.

Whenever questionnaire information is used and/or disseminated, an acknowledgement will be made to the contributor expert and/or institution.

We thank you in advance for your collaboration,

Best regards,

Cristina Branquinho