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Soil erosion: lost livelihoods, lost incomes and lost food

December 6th, 2019 / Al-jazeera

With more than 90 percent of the world’s food grown from soil, it’s a problem that impacts the health, incomes and livelihoods of billions of people on the planet.

Soil erosion – when the uppermost layer of soil is shifted or worn away – is a growing threat and one that has the potential …

Scaling out climate-smart agriculture in southern Africa

December 5th, 2019 / CIMMYT

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change estimates that temperatures in Africa are set to rise significantly in coming years, with devastating results for farmers. Some regions could experience two droughts every five years, and see drastic reductions in maize yields over the next three decades.

Research demonstrates that climate-smart …

Rice yields could plummet 40% by 2100 due to climate change

November 22nd, 2019 / Down to Earth

Global yields of rice, the world’s largest staple food crop, could plummet by as much as 40 per cent by 2100, affecting two billion people, a new study by Stanford University in the United States has said.

The plummeting of the yields would be caused by increasing temperatures. Moreover, changes in …

Eavesdropping on soil insects could aid pest management

November 5th, 2019

Insects in the soil are difficult to monitor, but listening in on the noises they make could help farmers detect pest infestations and improve estimates of biodiversity.

Carolyn-Monika Görres laughs at the seeming improbability of her own research. She never expected to find herself eavesdropping on beetle grubs living in the soil, …

How farmers can gain better farm knowledge

October 14th, 2019

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:

Good farmers should continuously seek new knowledge about their work. Farming is dynamic and agricultural practices keep changing. New markets for agricultural products often come with new conditions that have to be met. 

Time and again challenges crop up and a farmer will need guidance on how …

Cost-effective technology can enrich poor fields, increase yields close to 50%

October 11th, 2019

Smallholder poverty in sub-Saharan Africa is often linked to sandy soils, which hold little water and are low in nutrients. A new technology may be able to enrich fields and farmers without massive investments in irrigation and fertilizer.

Many farmers across sub-Saharan Africa try to coax crops out of sandy soils that are …

New perennial legume destined for poor soils

October 1st, 2019

A new perennial legume with the potential to revolutionise grazing in sandy infertile pastoral areas will be available to Australian and South African farmers next year. Read more … …

Ethiopia’s future is tied to water – a vital yet threatened resource in a changing climate

August 23rd, 2019 / The Conversation

In July Ethiopians planted 350 million trees in a single day. This was part of the country’s national green legacy initiative to counter environmental degradation and climate change. The initiative ultimately aims to grow 4 billion trees across the country.

Ethiopia has long struggled with land degradation problems in part caused by unsustainable agricultural practices – like vegetation …

Agriculture groups tout the benefits of animal composting

August 16th, 2019

Composting brings up images of buckets of scrap food and lawn trimmings. But the University of Illinois Extension Office took the idea one step further as they showed farmers how to compost livestock. 

Brian Gordon is a farmer in Iroquois County.

“One of the biggest diseases right now is actually African swine fevers — …

Subsidies are key to better fertiliser access, study shows

August 16th, 2019

Subsidies for manufacturing companies could help improve access to fertiliser in developing countries without increasing environmental stress, a team of international researchers has proposed.

In an article reviewing scientific evidence, the team presented a strategy to manage global fertiliser use while minimising nitrogen pollution — a common side effect. They note that it will be …