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February 6th, 2017 / The Herald

Agro-ecologist, Franz Ulrich Fischer, who has experience working in southern Africa, told The Herald Business that several factors including population growth, changes in land use and deforestation had worsened the impact of extreme events, but damage could be curtailed.

“A key to addressing droughts and floods is looking closer to the soils and soil life,” Ulrich-Fischer implored, by email.

“These days the soil have less organic matter and less organism (worms, bacteria, fungi, roots, etc), so the storage capacity of water is reduced and also the infiltration rate is much less.”
He continued: “A good farmer in a tropical setting would always try to keep every rain drop on
his/her farm, that is, it should go into the soil that it can be used by the plants or recharge the
groundwater which would feed springs and streams.

“If the water goes into the soil, it will not cause erosion and it is available to keep the soil life active to produce organic matter and maintain fertility. So farmers have to look, in particular at the management of water and how to feed soil and its life with organic matter.” See more