Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Farming That Makes SenseConservation farming makes sense in Africa. It is a style of farming that holds the needs of the farmer and what is best for the environment — and therefore the farmer in the long-term — as equal priorities. The Canadian Foodgrains Bank, of which World Relief Canada is a member, is promoting and supporting partner capacity building for conservation farming.
Conservation farming has been proven to boost the agricultural production of even the smallest farm plots, and improve the food security of the most vulnerable of households. In fact, conservation farming is custom made for the poorest of farmers and the smallest of plots because it does not depend on expensive inputs, but on the most basic needs of the land and the crops.
Conservation farming is built on the premise that natural and already available resources are the best ones to use to work with and for the land. Farmers learn the negative side of practices like ploughing and tilling, which actually leads to the degradation of soil when enriching organic matter is disturbed and destroyed. They learn the benefits of a stable, rich soil cover, and only disturbing the soil enough
to plant the seed, enabling the ground cover to retain water and nutrients to a much higher degree.
Farmers also learn about mulching and crop rotation, two other key principles of conservation farming that help ensure optimal soil health and crop production. The Canadian Foodgrains Bank has witnessed farmers doubling and sometimes tripling their yields as they converted to conservation farming.
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