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‘High-yield’ farming costs the environment less than previously thought – and could help spare habitats

October 11th, 2018 / University of Cambridge

New findings suggest that more intensive agriculture might be the “least bad” option for feeding the world while saving its species – provided use of such “land-efficient” systems prevents further conversion of wilderness to farmland.
“Our results suggest that high-yield farming could be harnessed to meet the growing demand for food …

Study in Ethiopia links healthy soils to more nutritious cereals

October 10th, 2018 / The Conversation

Large fields, predictable rainfall and favourable temperatures have meant that farmers in Arsi Negele, a town in southeastern Ethiopia, have benefited from good crop yields. Their production of wheat and maize, two of the main food staples in Ethiopia, have also increased over time.
But there are worrying indicators that the …

With ‘worm juice,’ Kenya’s farmers boost their soil – and harvests

September 18th, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

Prolonged drought and storm-related flooding have combined to erode fertile soils in rural parts of Kenya
Stooped over a large plastic drum at his farm in southwestern Kenya, Josphat Macharia scoops up a handful of dirt and examines the worms writhing in his grip.
Satisfied, he replaces the worms and covers them …

Why keep Africa’s dryland forests alive?

September 17th, 2018 / Mongabay

Small holder farmers from 6,000 Malian households have restored 320 hectares of land through a combination of on-farm natural tree regeneration, water harvesting, moisture retention technologies, improved soil filtration, and enhanced soil humus.
This is just one of many efforts currently underway to restore Africa’s dryland forests. There are many obstacles …

Take a look at some of the billions of organisms that keep our soil healthy

September 11th, 2018 / Ensia

Soil is filled with more biological diversity than any other habitat on Earth. Its food web consists not only of worms and beetles and other well-known, easily visible animals, but also microscopic organisms from bacteria to fungi to protists. They all play a vital role in keeping soil healthy. Read …

The great African regreening: millions of ‘magical’ new trees bring renewal

September 4th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

From the peanut basin of Senegal to the Seno plains of Mali, to Yatenga, formerly the most degraded region of Burkina Faso, and as far south as Malawi: gaos are thriving in Africa. And over the past three decades, the landscape of southern Niger has been transformed by more than …

Lessons from Kenya on how to restore degraded land

August 20th, 2018 / The Conversation

The state of the earth’s biodiversity – the world’s variety of living organisms – is in crisis. About one third of the world’s land has been severely degraded from its natural state. Some of the worst forms of degradation include deforestation, soil erosion, loss of soil fertility, declining water quality …

How to ensure bumper harvest from butternut

August 16th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

From B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru:
Butternut squash is a vine crop of the cucurbit family. This tropical crop is an alternative choice four pumpkin lovers.
This is because the butternut squash fruits locally known as ‘ensusuuti’ not only looks like a tiny pumpkin but it tastes alike.
Locally we do not …

How soil scientists can do a better job of making their research useful

August 15th, 2018 / The Conversation

Soil is a vital part of the natural environment. It supports the growth of plants, is a habitat for many different organisms and is at the heart of nearly all agricultural production. It also plays an integral role in countless other ecosystem services like water and climate regulation.
Despite this, soil …

Land degradation – a triple threat in Africa

August 6th, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

Sustainability, stability, and security–the three overlapping issues are an increasing concern among many especially in Africa where land degradation is displacing citizens and livelihoods.
African ministers and United Nations officials convened at the U.N. as part of the Initiative on Sustainability, Stability, and Security (3S), which aims to address migration and …