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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Bedada W.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Lemenih M.,Farm Africa | Karltun E.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment | Year: 2016

Decline in farmland soil fertility due to nutrient depletion is a concern for smallholder farmers in the highlands of Ethiopia. In this study we tested if long-term addition of compost, either alone or in combination with nitrogen (N) and phosphorous (P) fertilizer, affected available soil nutrient status, grain/tuber harvests, agronomic N use efficiency, and plot level N and P nutrient balances. The on-farm experiments were conducted on four farm fields for up to 6 years in Beseku, Ethiopia. A randomized complete block design was used, with four treatments: full dose of compost applied alone at 2.4 tha-1 DW organic matter (C); full dose of fertilizer (F); half compost and half fertilizer (CF); and, unfertilized control. In the upper 10cm of the surface soil, several Mehlich-3 extractable nutrients (B, Ca, K, Mg, P, S, and Zn) had significantly higher concentrations in the C treatment (P<0.01), and some in the CF treatment (P<0.05) than in the control. Phosphorus was the only nutrient with a higher concentration in the F treatment than the control. Maize and faba bean showed added benefits (synergy) in terms of yield increase in the CF treatment and a better agronomic efficiency for added N. Plot level N balances were negative for all treatments except C, with strong depletion in the control (-76 kg N ha-1yr-1) and F (-65 kg N ha-1yr-1) treatments. When the N balance was compared to measured change in soil N, the F and control treatments were significantly (P<0.05) lower than zero. N in the CF and C treatments was close to steady-state, i.e., the input of N in organic matter compensated for the loss of N through mineralization. The control treatment had a negative P balance of 11kgPha-1yr-1, with moderately negative balance of 4 kg P ha-1yr-1 in the C treatment. The CF and F treatments had positive P balances. Thus, the addition of compost, both alone or in combination with mineral fertilizer, can prevent N and reduce P mining and improve the nutrient status of the soil. When only NP fertilizer was used, the crop utilized all N that was mineralized indicating that the crop was N limited. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. Source

Lemenih M.,Farm Africa | Kassa H.,Center for International Forestry Research
Forests | Year: 2014

In Ethiopia, deforestation rates remain high and the gap between demand and domestic supply of forest products is expanding, even though government-initiated re-greening efforts began over a century ago. Today, over 3 million hectares (ha) of degraded forest land are under area exclosure; smallholder plantations cover 0.8 million ha; and state-owned industrial plantations stagnate at under 0.25 million ha. This review captures experiences related to re-greening practices in Ethiopia, specifically with regards to area exclosure and afforestation and reforestation, and distills lessons regarding processes, achievements and challenges. The findings show that farmers and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are the main players, and that the private sector has so far played only a small role. The role of the government was mixed: supportive in some cases and hindering in others. The challenges of state- and NGO-led re-greening practices are: inadequate involvement of communities; poorly defined rehabilitation objectives; lack of management plans; unclear responsibilities and benefit-sharing arrangements; and poor silvicultural practices. The lessons include: a more active role for non-state actors in re-greening initiatives; more attention to market signals; devolution of management responsibility; clear definition of responsibilities and benefit-sharing arrangements; and better tenure security, which are all major factors to success. © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Source

Peacock C.,Farm Africa | Sherman D.M.,Dutch Committee for Afghanistan
Small Ruminant Research | Year: 2010

The multi-dimensional nature of 'sustainability' including survival, resilience and efficiency is described as are the environmental, economic and social factors that underpin sustainability. Some of the current global trends and forces of change that impinge on goat production in the 21st century are also considered. The characteristics of some of the main goat systems and the people who keep them are described and the impact of some global trends (climate change, rising prices of food and fuel, environmental degradation, genetic erosion, dietary and lifestyle changes, social inequality and global insecurity) on the sustainability of goat production are considered. A 'sustainability scorecard' is developed as a tool to assess the ability of goat production systems to survive current trends and future shocks. Some case studies are presented from Africa, Afghanistan and the UK, including the pastoral systems of East Africa, emerging smallholder dairy systems in Africa, cashmere goat production in Afghanistan and a highly intensive niche dairy enterprise in the UK. The sustainability scorecard is applied to assess each system. Finally, conclusions are drawn about how to make goat systems more sustainable and resilient to the challenges they currently face and how goat keepers need to constantly adapt to changing circumstances in order to survive. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Source

Muhanji G.,Farm Africa | Ongiri J.,Africa New. PO Box 2514
Appropriate Technology | Year: 2010

Income is improving for fruit farmers in western Kenya with the introduction of solar drying. The Africa Now project, working with the right partnerships, aims at empowering 3,600 smallholder banana and pineapple farmers to generate, process, and market fruit products. Africa Now has introduced better agronomic practices, enterprise development, adding value and marketing. Marketing is done through the partnerships formed with the private sector. Growing and drying bananas has offered great benefits to the farmers, through a constant flow of income to the household. Farmers who have attended training groups are using new planting methods including the use of double rows in pineapples, proper fertilizers, and pest control methods. This has improved the quality and quantity of their produce. Prior to the project, buyers controlled the market, forcing farmers at times to sell produce at very low prices. Source

Muhanji G.,Farm Africa
Appropriate Technology | Year: 2010

FARM-Africa's Maendeleo Agricultural Technology Fund (MATF) introduced a three-year oyster mushroom project to smallholder Chagga farmers in Hai and Siha districts in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania in 2005. The project was implemented with the help of the Horticultural Research Institute (HORTI)- Tengeru, and it was the Institute, in 2007 and 2008, who guided the project to improve the access to profitable markets with additional financial assistance from FARM-Africa. Many farmers in Hai District have small farms so mushroom growing is appropriate. The mushrooms are grown on a substrate made from crop residues like banana leaves, maize husks and rice straw. Many women have taken a lead in the business, and have found that they are no longer dependent on their husbands for money for some basic household goods. The medicinal benefits are acknowledged by experts. Nancy Kaaya, HORTI-Tengeru, noted that mushrooms have the capability to raise immunity levels. The mixture is put inside plastic bags, which are placed in specially constructed dark and humid sheds, which are simple structures made of local materials and thatched roofs. Source

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