In rural areas, the adoption—or non-adoption— of improved agricultural technologies, skills, and knowledge by farmers could spell the difference between getting stuck in a poverty rut or moving forward to better times. In Africa RISING, building the capacity of farmers is a basic tenet, one that has the potential of improving farmers’ lives beyond just the “cash flow”.
Managing natural resources
Banana (Musa) is a key component of farming systems in the Great Lakes Region with annual per capita consumption in Rwanda, Burundi, and DR Congo estimated at 250 to 400 kg/year (Kilimo Trust 2012). Apart from being a key staple, banana is also a principal source of income for farmers. It has also become an important component of mixed production systems, intercropped with perennial and annual crops such as coffee and beans.
The West Africa Soil Health Consortium (WASHC) project started three years ago with the aim to establish and provide support to Soil Health Consortiums in five West African countries. This would facilitate wider uptake of Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) practices and technologies with visible impact on rural livelihoods. The project was funded by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) as an initiative of the Soil Health Program.
Weeds are major constraints to the productivity of cassava with a negative impact on millions of African farmers that depend on the root crop for their livelihoods. Yield losses vary between 50 and 90% depending on the level of infestation in the fields.
At the Rio Summit of 1990 two major problems threatening humanity were identified: climate change and loss of biodiversity. The latter has largely remained an academic topic although the former has been given huge amounts of attention and action is being taken to address its effects. Even so, scientists agree that biodiversity is a key requisite for sustaining life on earth.