Agroecology in Action: with Professor Pedro Sanchez

Where in the world are agroecological approaches building soil health, beating pests and helping farmers stay productive while protecting the planet? Professor Pedro Sanchez, Director of the Agriculture & Food Security Center at the Earth Institute at Columbia University continues our “Agroecology in Action” series with this guest post. Simply put, agroecology is a form of agriculture that takes maximum advantage of ecological processes. In some situations, nature is able to function as a closed system; take a tropical forest for example. When nutrients are finely balanced in the system, they are recycled, meaning there is no need for extra nutrient inputs to be added. Agriculture however, requires a regular harvesting of crops. This results in large amounts of essential nutrients being removed from the soil. Agroecological approaches must return these vital components to the soil, to ensure the soil stays healthy and can continue to grow the crops we require. This can be achieved through efficient fertilization— mineral, organic, or for the best results, both. Read More

Agroecology in Action: Keeping Pests at Bay in the Safest Way

Fintrac President tells Farming First how her team works with farmers to create maximum pest resistance with minimal environmental impact using Intergrated Pest Management. Read More

Agroecology in Action: Building Healthier Soils and a Healthier Planet

Dr. J. Scott Angle, CEO of IFDC, discusses how Integrated Soil Fertility Management can help soils to stay healthy and grow the food our planet requires both now and in the future. Read More

Agroecology in Action: with Professor Tim Benton

What is agroecology? How can farmers be encouraged to adopt its principles? Professor Tim Benton, Dean of Strategic Research at Leeds University and former UK Global Food Security Champion answers these questions in the second installment of Farming First’s “Agroecology in Action” series, produced ahead of the Second  International Symposium on Agroecology held by the FAO in Rome from 3-5th April 2018. In scientific terms, “agroecology” refers to the application of ecological principles to agriculture – that is, harnessing nature to support agricultural production. Our planet depends on its ecological resilience, and it is important to find more sustainable methods of growing produce to allow production to be repeated time and time again. Well known methods include crop rotation – planting a sequence of crops that will naturally improve soil fertility – or enhancing natural enemies to control pests on a farm. From a science perspective, it is also credible to apply a “mix and match” approach, in which natural methods can work in synergy with more conventional farming methods. Using biology to control pests or rotations to grow fertility allows synthetic inputs to be used in more targeted ways, when, and where, they are most needed.  If you are enhancing natural pest control, pesticides can become a last, rather than first, resort. Read More

Agroecology in Action: Forest-Friendly Farming in Ethiopia

On the International Day of Forests, Nicolas Mounard, CEO of Farm Africa, urges action to rescue the ailing voluntary carbon market that forest communities in Ethiopia are counting on. Building farmers’ incomes from forest-friendly businesses and the sale of carbon credits is the first approach profiled in our new blog series “Agroecology in Action”, produced ahead of the Second  International Symposium on Agroecology held by the FAO in Rome from 3-5th April 2018. The tension that exists between agriculture and environmental conservation is one of the oldest on record. Balancing the needs of rural people to utilise natural resources to eat and earn an income with the global need to protect the environment is a tall order – but there are many ways it can be achieved. At Farm Africa, finding the equilibrium between these two priorities is in our DNA. In Africa, where hunger levels are high and productivity is low, boosting the productivity of smallholder farmers is vital. But its environmental cost must be minimised. Future generations depend on the continent’s vast forests and watersheds remaining intact. Read More