The role of earthworms in sustainable agriculture

By Jaswinder Singh

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Greek philosopher Aristotle described earthworms as the ‘intestines of the earth’. (Photo credit: USDA, Flickr)

Sustainable agriculture means the production of food from plants or animals using different agricultural techniques that protect communities, the environment, and animal welfare. The extensive use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers to boost crop yields may have resulted in good yields and productivity, but it has caused the efficiency of the soil to deteriorate throughout the world day-by-day. This modern agricultural practice has caused a steep fall in the biodiversity (above and below the ground) associated with cropland ecosystems.

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‘Plant doctors’ to help Myanmar farmers reduce crop losses

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The practical plant doctor training sessions took place in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar (Photo: East-West Seed)

A new program in Myanmar has just produced its first group of ‘plant doctors’ – experts who can help farmers reduce their losses by diagnosing problems with their crops.

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Voices of farmers facing the Fall armyworm

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Deo Mutekanyiza beside his maize field (Photo: Farm Radio International)

Masindi and Kiryandongo are the maize-growing regions of Uganda, and maize – or corn – is a staple crop, cooked into a porridge for breakfast or into ugali for dinner.

The Fall armyworm is threatening maize crops in Uganda – and by extension the food security of Ugandans. It’s expected to damage up to 1.39 million tonnes of maize.

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9 ways to get climate-smart agriculture to more people

CIAT blog

This is the final post as part of our Climate Smart Agriculture Week (20 – 24 November 2017)

Understanding which agricultural practices work best, and where, to halt the impacts of climate change is one thing. But making sure those practices are adopted by communities – farmers, decision and policy makers – is another thing.

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Local innovation as source of adaptation and resilience to climate change

Women harvesting Moringa leaves in Réo, Burkina Faso
Women harvesting Moringa leaves, Burkina Faso. Photo credit: Pierre-François Pret

This is the second guest post as part of our Climate Smart Agriculture Week (20 – 24 November 2017)

Climate change poses major challenges to small-scale African farmers, whose own locally developed strategies to address these challenges provide entry points to sustainable processes of adapting to climate change. Partners in Prolinnova – a global network for promoting local innovation in ecological agriculture and natural resource management – have studied how crop farmers respond creatively to change.

Some case studies from West and Central Africa provide some insight:

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Blame animals only when you aren’t smart

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Photo credit: Mahesh Chander

This is the first guest post as part of our Climate Smart Agriculture Week (20 – 24 November 2017)

Despite us humans being the most intelligent among all living organisms it seems we have lowered ourselves to blaming the animals we farm for major environmental concerns, including; climate change, water depletion and pollution, land degradation and soil erosion, deforestation, threats to biodiversity and impacts of excessive material and energy use. Should they be held responsible?

The FAO says livestock is a major threat to environment, yet I would say, this is only the case because people are not smart enough to make livestock rearing and agriculture climate smart. We are the culprits.

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Managing Tuta absoluta in Agricultural production systems

Adapted from ‘Tomato leaf miner/ American leaf miner management in Agricultural production systems (Distribution, biology, damage and integrated management)’ written by Koppert Biological Systems.

Tuta damage to leaves and fruit
Tuta damage to leaves and fruit

The tomato leaf miner, Tuta absoluta, is a devastating pest of tomato. Originating from Latin America, T. absoluta has spread via infested fruits and packaging material to Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Given its potential for crop destruction and rapid reproduction, it quickly became a key pest of concern in East Africa. Its primary host is tomato, but it also affects potato, aubergine, beans and others.  Continue reading