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Legumes in soil fertility management: The case of pigeonpea in smallholder farming systems of Zimbabwe
P. Mapfumo, B. M. Campbell, S. Mpepereki
African Crop Science Journal , 2001,
Abstract: We investigated the current use of legumes in soil fertility management and the feasibility of promoting use of pigeonpea in smallholder farming systems of a Communal Area in Northeast of Zimbabwe. Participatory rural appraisal methods were used to establish farmer management strategies and perceptions on major constraints to crop productivity. Soil fertility parameters were evaluated through farmer participatory experiments. The study revealed limited cultivation of legumes for both human nutrition and soil fertility management. Legumes were generally regarded as women's crops, and therefore minor, because of men's domination over women in the household decision-making process. Balancing gender interests in terms of allocation of inputs and distribution of benefits at household level was identified as a major challenge to the implementation of legume technologies. Poor extension thrusts with respect to legume production, and poor agronomic practices were identified as major production constraints. Over-emphasis on maize in the current extension packages led to the relegation of legumes to the status of 'minor crops'. Participatory experiments suggested that pigeonpea can be successfully grown by farmers under poor soil fertility conditions. The crop yielded about 3 to 9 t ha-1 of shoot biomass in a single cropping season, and up to 23 t ha-1 after two seasons of growth. High amounts leaf litter released by the crop in one season (up to 3 t ha-1) are considered a potentially viable source of nutrients for subsequent crops, as confirmed by a 22% maize yield increase obtained from a field that was previous cultivated with pigeonpea. RéSUMé Les investigations sur l' utilisation des légumineuses dans la gestion de fertilité du sol ainsi que les possibilités d' incorporer le pois cajan dans le système agricole de petits fermiers ont été fait dans un milieu rural au Nord-Est du Zimbabwe. La méthode "Participatory rural appraisal" a été utilisée pour déterminer les stratégies de gestion du sol et les perceptions qui contribuent à la réduction de la productivité de la récolte. Les paramètres de fertilité du sol ont été analysés en collaboration avec des agriculteurs. Cette étude a révelé qu' il y a une utilisation limitée de légumineuses dans l' alimentation des gens ainsi que dans la gestion de fertilité du sol. Les légumineuses sont géneralement considérées commes la récolte pour les femmes, sur ce, de peu d' importance, et à cause de la domination des hommes dans la prise de décision dans le foyer. L'exécution des téchnologies d' incorporer les légumineuses dans le système de production agricole s' est heurtée à un problème majeur de domination de l'homme, ses préférences dans la répartition et la distributions des intrants et les bénéfices. Un autre problème identifié, c'est une vulgarisation très limitée de la production de légumineuses et une difficile adaptation agronomique de variétés de légumineuses qui sont déjà dans le système. Le système de v
Promoting Cassava as an Industrial Crop in Ghana: Effects on Soil Fertility and Farming System Sustainability  [PDF]
S. Adjei-Nsiah,Owuraku Sakyi-Dawson
Applied and Environmental Soil Science , 2012, DOI: 10.1155/2012/940954
Abstract: Cassava is an important starchy staple crop in Ghana with per capita consumption of 152.9?kg/year. Besides being a staple food crop, cassava can be used as raw material for the production of industrial starch and ethanol. The potential of cassava as an industrial commercial crop has not been exploited to a large extent because of perceptions that cassava depletes soils. Recent finding from field studies in the forest/savannah transitional agroecological zone of Ghana indicates that when integrated in the cropping system as a form of rotation, cassava contributes significantly to maintenance of soil fertility, and thus large scale production of cassava for industrial use can contribute to poverty reduction in an environmentally responsive way. This paper discusses the role of cassava cultivation in soil fertility management and its implication for farming system sustainability and industrialization. 1. Introduction Cassava is an important starchy staple crop in Ghana with per capita consumption of 152.9?kg/year [1]. Besides being a staple food crop, cassava can be used as raw material for the production of industrial starch and ethanol. In Ghana, cassava is cultivated as a monocrop or intercropped with other food crops, either as the dominant or subsidiary crop. In terms of quantity produced, cassava is the most important root crop in Ghana followed by yams and cocoyams, but cassava ranks second to maize in terms of area planted. The production of cassava in Ghana ranged from 10,217,929?MT to 12,260,330 MT in the period 2007–2009 covering an area of 800,531?ha to 885,800?ha [1]. Ghana currently produces about 12,260,000?MT of cassava annually. Out of this, 8,561,700?MT is available for human consumption while national consumption is estimated at only 3,672,700?MT resulting in surplus of about 4,889,000?MT which can be exploited for the production of industrial starch or ethanol. Despite its importance, the potential of cassava as an industrial crop has not been exploited to any appreciable extent in Ghana, with the perception that cassava depletes soils [2, 3]. However, recent studies in the forest/savannah transitional agroecological zone as well as the semideciduous forest zone of Ghana have demonstrated that, when integrated in the cropping system as a form of rotation, cassava has the potential of maintaining soil fertility. In most parts of Africa, cassava is planted just before the land is left to fallow [4, 5]. In the forest/savannah transitional agroecological zone of Ghana, farmers often rotate maize with cowpea and when they observe decline in
The Social Dimensions of Sustainability and Change in Diversified Farming Systems  [cached]
Christopher M. Bacon,Christy Getz,Sibella Kraus,Maywa Montenegro
Ecology and Society , 2012, DOI: 10.5751/es-05226-170441
Abstract: Agricultural systems are embedded in wider social-ecological processes that must be considered in any complete discussion of sustainable agriculture. Just as climatic profiles will influence the future viability of crops, institutions, i.e., governance agreements, rural household and community norms, local associations, markets, and agricultural ministries, to name but a few, create the conditions that foster sustainable food systems. Because discussions of agricultural sustainability often overlook the full range of social dimensions, we propose a dual focus on a broad set of criteria, i.e., human health, labor, democratic participation, resiliency, biological and cultural diversity, equity, and ethics, to assess social outcomes, and on institutions that could support diversified farming systems (DFS). A comparative analysis of case studies from California's Central Valley, Mesoamerican coffee agroforestry systems, and European Union agricultural parks finds that DFS practices are unevenly adopted within and among these systems and interdependent with institutional environments that specifically promote diversified farming practices. Influential institutions in these cases include state policies, farmers' cooperatives/associations, and organized civic efforts to influence agroenvironmental policy, share knowledge, and shape markets for more 'sustainable' products. The Californian and Mesoamerican cases considers organic and fair trade certifications, finding that although they promote several DFS practices and generate social benefits, they are inadequate as a single strategy to promote agricultural sustainability. The complex governance and multifunctional management of Europe's peri-urban agricultural parks show unexpected potential for promoting DFS. Unless DFS are anchored in supportive institutions and evaluated against an inclusive set of social and environmental criteria, short-term investments to advance diversified agriculture could miss a valuable opportunity to connect ecological benefits with social benefits in the medium and long terms.
Sostenibilidad de sistemas agrícolas Sustainability of farming systems  [cached]
Leiva Fabio R.
Agronomía Colombiana , 1998,
Abstract: Las actividades agrícolas pueden tener impactos negativos sobre el ambiente, con efectos dentro y fuera de los predios. El presente artículo pretende contribuir al avance de la agricultura sostenible con énfasis en países en vías de desarrollo. Se revisan y analizan los conceptos de sostenibilidad y agricultura sostenible, incluyendo los diferentes puntos de vista en el debate sobre sostenibilidad'. El artículo examina los impactos ambientales debidos a las actividades agrícolas, destacando la importancia de fortalecer la investigación, con publicación de resultados, sobre la relación agricultura y medio ambiente. La complejidad de los factores que determinan la sostenibilidad agrícola exige una concepción de sistemas, integradora, participativa y holística. El uso de indicadores tiene un gran potencial en la evaluación de la sostenibilidad de sistemas productivos. La práctica de agricultura sostenible requiere tener en cuenta las condiciones ambientales, sociales y económicas en las cuales se desenvuelve la agricultura. Farming activities have the potential to affect the farming system itself and the offfarm environment. This paper attempts to contribute to the development of sustainable agriculture with emphasis in developing countries. The concepts of sustainability and sustainable agriculture are reviewed and discussed, including the different viewpoints in the sustainability debate. Environmental impacts due to farming activities are examined emphasising the need of promoting further research and publication of findings on the links between environment and agriculture. The complexity of the factors that determine farming sustainability requires a systematic, holistic, participative and integrated approach. Indicators are likely to contribute to the development of sustainable farming systems. Understanding environmental, social and economic circumstances is required to promote sustainability.
Chicken Farming in Grassland Increases Environmental Sustainability and Economic Efficiency  [PDF]
Meizhen Liu, Bingxue Wang, Colin P. Osborne, Gaoming Jiang
PLOS ONE , 2013, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053977
Abstract: Background Grassland degradation caused by overgrazing poses a threat to both animal husbandry and environmental sustainability in most semi-arid areas especially north China. Although the Chinese Government has made huge efforts to restore degraded grasslands, a considerable attempt has unfortunately failed due to an inadequate consideration of economic benefits to local communities. Methodology/Principal Findings A controlled field experiment was conducted to test our hypothesis that utilizing natural grasslands as both habitat and feed resources for chickens and replacing the traditional husbandry system with chicken farming would increase environmental sustainability and raise income. Aboveground plant biomass elevated from 25 g m?2 for grazing sheep to 84 g m?2 for chicken farming. In contrast to the fenced (unstocked) grassland, chicken farming did not significantly decrease aboveground plant biomass, but did increase the root biomass by 60% (p<0.01). Compared with traditional sheep grazing, chicken farming significantly improved soil surface water content (0–10 cm), from 5% to 15%. Chicken farming did not affect the soil bulk density, while the traditional sheep grazing increased the soil bulk density in the 0–10 cm soil layer by 35% of the control (p<0.05). Most importantly, the economic income of local herdsmen has been raised about six times compared with the traditional practice of raising sheep. Ecologically, such an innovative solution allowed large degraded grasslands to naturally regenerate. Grasslands also provided a high quality organic poultry product which could be marketed in big cities. Conclusion/Significance Chicken farming is an innovative alternative strategy for increasing environmental sustainability and economic income, rather than a challenge to the traditional nomadic pastoral system. Our approach might be technically applicable to other large degraded grasslands of the world, especially in China.
Addressing Sustainability of Clam Farming in the Venice Lagoon  [cached]
Donata Melaku Canu,Pierpaolo Campostrini,Simona Dalla Riva,Roberto Pastres
Ecology and Society , 2011, DOI: 10.5751/es-04263-160326
Abstract: The clam fishing and aquaculture system in the Venice Lagoon still appears insufficiently resilient to buffer external and internal perturbations, such as productivity fluctuations, unregulated fishing, and market related dynamics, despite the efforts of regional and local authorities to achieve the sustainable development. According to the System Approach Framework (SAF), based on previous studies and stakeholder interactions, we developed a model integrating ecological, social, and economic (ESE) aspects. We chose the aspects necessary to represent the essential dynamics of major ecological, social, and economic clam farming system components to project the consequences of implementing alternative management policies and to address the ecological and social carrying capacity. Results of the simulations suggest that a properly managed farming system can sustain an acceptable income and support the local community, while reducing negative environmental impacts, social conflicts, and consumer health risks and improving system resilience. The results highlight the importance of an interdisciplinary, participatory, and adaptive approach in planning the management of this important renewable resource.
Soil Fertility Analysis in Two Cocoa Farming Towns in the Central Region of Ghana  [cached]
O. Agyemang, A.A. Golow, Y. Serfor-Armah, M. Ackah, H. Ahiamadjie, O. Gyampo, E. Akortia, J.B. Tandoh and R.K. Yankey
Asian Journal of Agricultural Sciences , 2011,
Abstract: Our soil resource can be compared to a bank where continued withdrawal without repayment cannot continue indefinitely. As nutrients are removed by one crop and not replaced for subsequent crop production, yields will decrease accordingly. Accurate accounting of nutrient removal and replacement, crop production statistics, and soil analysis results will help the producer manage fertilizer applications. Macronutrients, micronutrients, pH and salinity were determined in soil samples from two cocoa farming towns in Assin North District in the Central Region of Ghana. Neutron Activation method was used for the elemental analysis. The pHs from both towns were within the acidic range and from both towns also salinity increased with depth. For the soil samples from Assin Akonfudi potassium concentration was the highest and molybdenum was the least in the soil. For the soil samples from Assin Bereku potassium recorded the highest concentration and molybdenum recorded the least concentration in the soil.
Effect of Bast Fibre Cultivation on Soil Fertility
A. K. M. Maqsudul Alam,M. Nasimul Gani,M. Rahman,M. R. Islam
Journal of Biological Sciences , 2001,
Abstract: An experiment was conducted to study the estimate of total biomass (shedded leaves plus roots) during bast fibre crop (jute, kenaf and mesta) cultivation and the performance of biomass in soil fertility. The newly released four varieties of Bangladesh Jute Research Institute were used in the trial viz. Deshi jute BJC-83, Tossa jute OM-1, kenaf HC-95 and mesta HS-24. Each of the new variety produces good amount of biomass and enriches the soil fertility. The highest biomass produced with HC-95 (7.30 t ha-1) and lowest BJC-83 (5.23 t ha-1). Appreciable performance recorded with each of the variety in enriching the soil fertility on post harvest soil. Highest organic carbon (1.31%) nitrogen (0.13%) phosphorus (18 ppm) and potassium (0.183 meq/100) were found with the variety HC-95. The percent increment of organic carbon (OC), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) by the HC-95 were 87.14, 150.00, 63.64 and 30.71 respectively over the initial soil nutrient content. According to the performance of the production of biomass and soil enrichment the varieties were in the order of HC-95> HS-24> OM-1> BJC-83.
Changing Soil Fertility Management in Bhutan: Effects on Practices, Nutrient Status and Sustainability
Chencho Norbu and Christopher Floyd
Journal of Bhutan Studies , 2004,
Abstract: This paper is the results of a Soil Fertility Management (SFM)survey conducted in 1999 to determine the status and trendsin soil fertility management and associated soil conditions inBhutan in the face socio-economic development of the lastfour decades. While the traditional SFM systems based on theuse of animal manures still dominate, the ability to maintainand sustain these indigenous systems is being underminedby socio-economic factors. Households have been increasinglydepending on fertilizer, especially urea, to increase soilfertility and maintain crop yields, and this trend is predictedto continue. Generally, soil nutrient status is poor. The majorconcerns are a low pH and nitrogen, phosphate status andimbalanced base nutrition. Since sustainable development isa key government development objective, the survey resultswere examined to determine the sustainability of existingSFM practices and soil use for crop production. In mostsituations sustainability is being maintained, but theassessment of SFM and crop production questionssustainability in some areas. Lack of sustainability is aconcern on both wetland and dryland soils and amonghouseholds identified as being less able to manage soilfertility. This paper has identified implications for policy,research and extension.
Family Farming, Land Use and Sustainability in the Amazon: Focusing on the Educational Dimension  [PDF]
Raimundo Cláudio Gomes Maciel, Francisco Diétima da Silva Bezerra, Francisco Carlos da Silveira Cavalcanti, Oleides Francisca de Oliveira, Pedro Gilberto Cavalcante Filho
Creative Education (CE) , 2018, DOI: 10.4236/ce.2018.91009
Abstract: The struggles?for land possession and deforestation were some results of the recent occupation process in the Amazon. Family farming was the target of land policies in the region, with recurring failures. Issues related to land governance and pro-poor policies have returned to the discussions, especially by the food production. This study aims to evaluate the relationship between the educational level, land access and sustainable land use among farmers in Acre State, Brazil, in the periods 1996/1997 and 2006/2007. Based on a sample, the methodology worked with variables related to the educational level, the access and the use of land, economic results and solid garbage. The results show that the higher educational level is directly related to the land access security and inversely proportional to sustainability in the land use type. Furthermore, production difficulties are leading to greater market dependence and, consequently, to increased generation of solid garbage, whose disposal may be better directed by improving the farmers’ education.

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