Smallholder farmers in Malawi are growing fertilizer trees on their farms to improve food production

Malawi farmer in his maize field intercropped with fertilizer trees. Photo: Mark Ndipita/ICRAF
Malawi farmer in his maize field intercropped with fertilizer trees. Photo: Mark Ndipita/ICRAF

The adoption of fertilizer trees on farms is a simple and effective way to improve soil fertility, food productivity and therefore contribute to food security. Yet, there is still little empirical research that documents the impact of fertilizer trees on food security among smallholder farmer households. Researchers from the World Agroforestry Centre carried out a study in Malawi to analyze the impact of the adoption of fertilizer trees on food security among smallholder farmers

Reblogged from the Agroforestry World Blog. Read the full article here→

Update: Plant Health News (18 May 16)

The genome of the humble carrot has finally been sequenced © cranberries (CC BY-NC-ND)
The genome of the humble carrot shows no link between their flavour and colour © cranberries (CC BY-NC-ND)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the completion of the sequencing of the carrot genome, the threat of wheat blast in Asia and the potential use of spider venom as an effective natural pesticide.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!

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The problems of achieving food security for 1.6 billion people in China

Agriculture in China has grown at a remarkable rate over the past 50 years © Gabriele Quaglia (Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license)

It is predicted that the population of China will stabilise at 1.6 billion within the next two decades. In order to feed this many people, crop production will need to increase by 2% each year to provide the estimated 580 million tonnes of grain that will be required. Mingsheng Fan and colleagues have published a review of past trends in agricultural production in China and the solutions that they think will allow China to produce more food in the future without an increase in available agricultural land. The main crops produced in large quantities in China are cereal crops, particularly wheat, maize and rice. The main limiting factors for the continued increase in agricultural production are water availability and soil quality. There is also the requirement to reduce use of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilisers because they pollute the air and water.

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