Saturday, April 9, 2011

Eco-farming could double food production

A UN Report says that food production in developing countries could double, if farmers move away from chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Among examples given for moving to eco-farming include insect-trapping plants in Kenya, and ducks that eat weeds in Bangladeshi rice paddies. 
"Agriculture is at a crossroads," says the study by Olivier de Schutter, the UN special reporter on the right to food, in an effort to lower high food prices and avoid the costly oil-dependent model of industrial farming.
According to the report, eco-farming projects in 57 nations showed an average crop yield gains of 80%  by tapping natural methods for enhancing soil and protecting against pests.
It is suggested that "agro-ecology" could make farms more resilient to extreme weather conditions, including floods, droughts and a rise in sea levels.
Benefits would be greatest in "regions where too few efforts have been put in to agriculture, particularly sub-Saharan Africa," he said. "There are also a number of very promising experiences in parts of Latin America and parts of Asia.
Examples of successful "agro-ecology" in Africa include the thousands of Kenyan farmers who planted insect-repelling desmodium or tick clover, used as animal fodder, within corn fields to keep damaging insects away and sowed small plots of napier grass nearby that excretes a sticky gum to trap pests.
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