The A to Z of soil biodiversity

The soil is the “living, breathing skin of our planet.” It is the basis of food production and essential for clean water, health, greenhouse gas capture and numerous other functions that support life on earth.

Soil biodiversity is intimately connected with all terrestrial life. Thanks to advances in technology and global scientific cooperation, huge strides have been made in our understanding of the dazzling diversity of life forms beneath our feet; and especially that of microscopic bacteria, fungi, and nematodes that are invisible to the naked eye. Read more…

“It’s time to stop talking and start acting” : Agroecological farming for people and the planet

Back in 2009, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) issued a clarion call for a deep reform of agriculture globally.

“Business as usual is not an option,” the comprehensive, evidence-based global series titled Agriculture at Crossroads, stated boldly.

The IAASTD report urged, among other things, for global agriculture to respect the agroecological principles that had served farmers and nature well since the dawn of farming; practices such as organic farming and agroforestry which supply the nutritional needs of people without harming the natural resource base on which all life depends. Read  more. . .

Agroforestry among ‘100 Under $100’ tools for women’s empowerment

In her new book ‘100 Under $100’, Betsy Teutsch rounds up a hundred innovative yet affordable tools and practices that can make a huge difference in the lives of poor women in low-income countries. Agroforestry is among these innovations.

Fertilizer trees raise and stabilize maize yields in Malawi. Photo: ICRAF
Fertilizer trees raise and stabilize maize yields in Malawi. Photo: ICRAF

Many of the tools featured, like childhood immunization, handwashing, and clean birth kits—are lifesaving. Others, like agroforestry, rainwater harvesting and beekeeping, ease labour and drudgery and provide income-generation options for women. Others still, like the internet and voting rights, give women a voice and open up their world. Read more. . .

More money and less risk for African eco-farmers

Rose Koech at her farm in Kembu, Kenya. She has a mixed farm with trees, crops, fodder species and vegetables. Photo by Sherry Odeyo/ICRAF
Rose Koech at her farm in Kembu, Kenya. She has a mixed farm with trees, crops, fodder species and vegetables. Photo by Sherry Odeyo/ICRAF

A Greenpeace study in Malawi and Kenya has revealed that chemically-intensive farming hurts the bottom line of small-scale farmers; agroecological farming is more profitable.

Agroecology refers to a suite of sustainable farming practices that use few or no external chemical inputs. The approaches, often rooted in traditional farming techniques, include sustainable land management, water harvesting, agroforestry, biological control of pests and weeds, intercropping, organic farming, permaculture, and several others. Read more..