Category: Africa-South

Soil samples awaiting infrared scanning at the CGIAR’s Soil-Plant Spectral Diagnostic Laboratory based at ICRAF. Photo by Keith Shepherd/ICRAF

Rapid, low-cost technologies generate high-value soils information for planners and farmers

By Keith Shepherd A big, risky decision for smallholder farmers is what type and how much fertilizer to apply to their crops. There is lot of uncertainty about how the crops will respond, with a risk that the...

A farmer walks through his distinct gardens: the left side he had incorporated fertilizer tree biomass, Tephrosia, for three years and the right he is yet to start. He does not apply fertiliser nor does he use improved seed on either field. Photo by Godfrey Chisusu/ICRAF

BLEANSA: The makings of an evergreen agriculture info hub for Southern Africa

At a session of the recent Beating Famine Southern Africa Conference, Isaac Nyoka, Coordinator of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Southern Africa Node, discussed BLEANSA, short for Building a Large Evergreen Agriculture Network for Southern Africa. BLEANSA is a...

Traditional granary in Malawi. Photo by Daisy Ouya/ICRAF

Linking fertilizer subsidies to sustainable farming with trees

A proposed new platform to link Southern Africa’s fertilizer subsidies to sustainable farming practices could be key to reversing the region’s land degradation crisis. The platform – which would be jointly sponsored by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)...

Nitrogen-fixing species Tephrosia vogelii growing with maize at Kusamala Institute of Agriculture & Ecology in Lilongwe, Malawi. Photo by Daisy Ouya/ICRAF

Fertilizer tree options for farmers

It has been proven that certain trees on farm can boost crop productivity when grown in combination with annual crops. These trees improve the soil’s condition, can offer food (fruit, nuts, vegetables), fodder for animals, and  fuel wood....

Chisomo Matia has a small business making fried potatoes in a wood-fired stove in Dowa, Malawi. Photo by Daisy Ouya/ICRAF

The twin promise of food and bioenergy security in Africa

People everywhere have needs that exceed the basics of food and shelter. They seek fulfillment and happiness and a better future for their children. Farmers seek better yields for less labour, and better nutrition for less cash. All...

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The winning combination for scaling up sustainable intensification in farming

Around the world, farmers are conservative by nature, and with very good reason. A rich farmer who makes a serious mistake risks losing his farm to the bank. A smallholder risks much worse: famine for her children. Anyone...