Labor intensive land preparation by a farmer in Lundazi, Eastern Zambia. In the background is a field under conservation agriculture, with minimum soil disturbance, less labor, and reduced soil degradation. Photo: Thierfelder, CIMMYT
The good news of conservation agriculture continues to spread. In September, a publication called “Climate-Smart Agriculture” was released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT); and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. The publication explains the principles of conservation agriculture, challenges to its adoption, and its potential role in climate change mitigation. It also details relevant experiences in Mexico, India, Malawi, and Zambia.
One of the authors, Christian Thierfelder, a cropping system agronomist with CIMMYT in Zimbabwe, has been a close partner in a SANREM project in Southern Africa led by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. SANREM Director Adrian Ares said Thierfelder “has been an excellent collaborator during SANREM Phase IV, contributing both scientific expertise backed by his numerous peer-reviewed publications and strong emphasis on training farmers and other stakeholders.” Continue reading
A happy woman in a SANREM experimental field in Northern Cambodia.
SANREM underwent two thorough reviews conducted by renowned scientists in biophysical and socio-economic fields for Phase IV of the program. Since 2009, SANREM’s Phase IV has brought conservation agriculture practices to smallholder farmers in 13 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The focus on Conservation Agriculture Production Systems (CAPS) has aided farmers struggling with soil loss, low crop yields, and limited income. The long-term efforts established by SANREM in this phase seem promising toward achieving goals of higher yields and profits and increased crop resiliency in the face of harsh, changing climates.
“It is imperative that programs directed at decreasing soil losses and improving soil fertility and health be supported for years to come,” said a team of evaluators led by Rattan Lal, distinguished professor of soil science and director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center at Ohio State University. “Research from such programs could greatly help reduce the tremendous burden of malnutrition in rural communities dependent on agriculture for their sustenance.” Continue reading
Dr. Agustin Mercado explains one of the trials at the Claveria Center. The SANREM replicated trials are shown in the background.
This year marks an extraordinary milestone for SANREM: its 20th year in the Philippines. The program has come a long way since SANREM’s first field sites were established at the Manupali River watershed on the island of Mindanao in 1994.
In Mindanao, SANREM has teamed with smallholder farmers to conduct research, train stakeholders, and promote new technologies. Team members integrated food production with several practices designed to conserve soil, water, and biodiversity in the area. This resulted in increased agricultural productivity and food security. Continue reading
The latest SANREM newsletter has arrived and is available for downloading or printing. This issue includes technological advances helping farmers in Southeast Asia, the multi-functional tool designed for smallholders in Africa, and more news from Phase IV. Visit SANREM’s newsletter page to see our latest issue and check up on past releases!
Aerial photo of an Andean potato farm
A buried treasure high in the Andes is getting special attention from Virginia Tech scientists. The unassuming potato is the world’s fifth most important crop worldwide, making it a truly valuable resource. Therefore, in their newest collaborative effort, the Feed the Future SANREM and IPM Innovation Labs are demonstrating once again how far the benefits of conservation agriculture can reach by focusing on this staple crop. Continue reading
In Siem Reap, Cambodia, a group of 46 farmers, mostly women, proudly pose in front of vegetables they packed.
Conservation agriculture is making a difference for smallholder farmers in Cambodia. A series of workshops is helping women farmers learn to package and market produce they have grown using the system of conservation agriculture that promotes minimum soil disturbance, maintenance of a year-round soil cover, and crop rotation. Continue reading
Clements and Larrowe talk with a farmer about her naranjilla plot. Photo by Zeke Barlow, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
The Feed the Future SANREM and IPM Innovation Labs are once again making great strides overseas. Recently, Corinna Clements, knowledge base manager and student assistant for SANREM, along with agricultural sciences senior Austin Larrowe, spent two weeks in Ecuador talking to farmers about a project they have been working on to curb deforestation by using a better variety of the naranjilla plant. Both students work under the advisement of Professor Jeff Alwang, who heads SANREM’s LTRA-7 project in the Andes. To read more about their incredible work in Ecuador, see Students, professors examine ways to improve lives and agriculture in Ecuador.
After 20 years of research, education, and capacity building in sustainable agriculture and natural resource management, Feed the Future SANREM Innovation Lab will be holding its final Annual Meeting in 2014. It will be held May 19-21 at the Marriott Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. Continue reading