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.”
Another review team was led by B. A. Stewart, former director of the USDA Conservation and Production Research Laboratory in Texas and past president of the Soil Science Society of America. The group was impressed by the project’s progress and recognized the need for continued efforts in conservation agriculture. According to their findings, more than 80 percent of the food in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are produced on smallholder farms.
“With almost one billion people in the world suffering from hunger and malnutrition and with world population increases expected from 7.1 billion today to more than 9 billion in 2050, it is critical that smallholder farms become more productive while controlling soil erosion and enhancing soil quality for sustainability,” Stewart’s group wrote in their review. “Conservation agriculture practices have the potential for achieving this goal, so this project is both timely and of great importance.”
Although the program will end in 2015, the improved human and institutional capacity developed by SANREM and generated knowledge will promote CAPS across the globe.
“The SANREM Management Entity would like to express deep appreciation to the principal investigators, host-country partners, farmers and other members of the SANREM community for hosting the reviewers, providing administrative support, and contributing all the necessary information towards the completion of these independent evaluations,” stated Program Director Adrian Ares.
To read the full reviews, click here: