Meera Shah, Project Administrator at Malabo Montpellier Panel, discusses the critical role of digital technologies in understanding the health of soil. Continue reading
In this guest post, young soil scientist Steve Kibet tells Farming First how he has managed to mobilise young people to take action against soil degradation in Kenya. This blog is part of our ongoing partnership with Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD).
My grandmother would sit us by the fireside after a long day of looking after her livestock. She would tell us how she used to plant crops; there was no use of organic fertilizer, just removing vegetation cover by slashing and planting the crops using hoes. There was little disturbance to the soil structure. The cover material would protect the soil from water erosion, which is the main type of erosion in the area.. This resulted in a maize plant producing 2-3 maize cops. Her granary was full all year round and the cost of production was very low. Continue reading
Farming First TV interviewed Fadhel Alansari, the General Manager of Manufacturing at Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company on the responsibility that the private sector has to play a role in protecting the environment, and providing enough for a growing population.
Mr Alansari commented that we must conduct research across all continents to determine want soils need in order to improve the nutritional value of food. Continue reading
Friday 5th December 2014
10am EST / 3pm GMT
We will soon be entering International Year of Soils, and the soil we use to grow our crops will move to centre stage in the food security debate.
Land degradation currently affects nearly one-third of the earth’s land area. The impacts this has range from reduced soil fertility and lower crop yields to reduced soil carbon sequestration that would mitigate climate change, as well desertification and rural migration. Smallholder farmers in the developing world are impacted most heavily; in sub-Saharan Africa it is estimated that 65 per cent of land is degraded, which is a major barrier to food production. Worldwide, the economic loss associated with land degradation is estimated to cost us USD 40 billion per year.
Healthy soils are the foundation of a productive food system, improved rural livelihoods and a healthy environment. When so many still go hungry – we must focus on protecting and restoring our soils.
How can we seize the opportunity this global event presents to sustain our soils?
Join our panel of experts for the Twitter Chat “Healthy Soils for a Healthy Life” on Friday 5th December at 10am EST / 3pm GMT and tweet @farmingfirst with your questions, using the hashtag #AskFF
Amit Roy, President, International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) – @AmitRoyIFDC / @IFDCNews
Amit Roy has been the president and CEO of IFDC since 1992. Under his leadership, IFDC’s programs have broadened to help create sustainable agricultural productivity around the world, alleviating hunger and poverty and ensuring global food security, environmental protection and economic growth. He was instrumental in organizing the Africa Fertilizer Summit in Nigeria; founded Virtual Fertilizer Research Center in Nigeria and co-leads the Global TraPs project.
Richard Mkandawire, Vice President, African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) – @R_Mkandawire / @AFAPPartnership
For eight years, Richard Mkandawire was part of the leadership that drove the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). CAADP began as part of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) to eliminate hunger and reduce poverty by growing agriculture. He is now the Vice President of AFAP, bringing decades of experience as a socio-economist and rural development expert to the organisation.
Machteld Schoolenberg, YPARD Representative, Netherlands – @MachteldAnna / @YPARD
Machteld is a policy researcher with a Masters in International Land and Water Management and specialized in land degradation, rural development and sustainable land management practices. Machteld currently works as a policy researcher at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL). She mainly works in research projects on land degradation and restoration. But also contributes on projects about natural capital, land use innovations in the EU and social media strategies.
Juliet Braslow, Soil Research Area Coordinator, Centro International de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT) – @JulietBraslow / @CIAT_
Juliet holds a Masters in Horticulture & Agronomy and another in International Agricultural Development. Based in Nairobi, Kenya she has a diverse background of skills ranging from soil management and agricultural extension to international development. She is interested in interdisciplinary and participatory research in natural resource management and effective science communication, especially when it comes to communicating the importance of soil.
Ronald Vargas, Soils Officer, Global Soil Partnership – @FAOKnowledge
Ronald is Soils Officer and Secretary of the Global Soil Partnership Secretariat at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations with strong focus on the survey, assessment and management of soil resources globally.
In many countries where soil has been degraded or where farmers face difficult conditions, conservation agriculture has also been shown to improve yields through improved soil quality.
For example, in Zambia, a sample of 125 hand-hoe farmers using conservation farming in areas where land had been degraded was found to produce 1.5 tonnes more maize and 460 kg more cotton per hectare than did farmers practicing conventional ox-plough tillage.