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ading towards a crisis. "The future michael kors outlet grapevine mills mall picture is dire," says Dennis Garrity, chief executive of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), headquartered in Nairobi. "Producing more food for a growing population in the coming decades, while at the same time combating poverty and hunger, is a huge challenge michael kors outlet online sunglasses
facing African agriculture."
African governments, international donors and scientists all agree that farmers must revitalize their soils. But there is passionate debate about how to do it. Many African governments and agricultural scientists argue that large doses of inorganic fertilizers are the most practical solution. But others, such the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome, are pushing for greener, cheaper solutions, such as no till farming that conserves soil and 'fertilizer plants' that boost the soil's nitrogen content organically. Researchers report michael kors outlet houston online
that these latter techniques are beginning to raise yields and improve soil fertility.
Leading scientific and political figures will take the debate to the UN's Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June. But whatever they recommend, the biggest test is what happens when Beyadi and other African farmers try to put into practice the grand plans of scientists, international donors and governments.
"Many people are promoting approaches without understanding the conditions in Africa and the communities and what works for them. They mean well, but they need to appreciate the realities of the smallholder farmer," says Bashir Jama, director of the soil health programme for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), based in Nairobi.
Sub Sarahan Africa is one of the poorest regions on Earth, in both living standards and soil michael kors online outlet handbags
fertility. The depleted soil has caused average yields of grain crops to stagnate at around 1 tonne per hectare since the 1960s. By contrast, yields now reach 2.5 t ha1 in south Asia and 4.5 t ha1 in east Asia, where chemical fertilizers have been widely adopted michael kors outlet black friday sale 2013 since the green revolution (see 'Uneven landscape'). Fertilizer use across Africa has remained at around 9 kg ha1 of cultivated land over the past 40 years, whereas Asia uses 96 kg ha1 of inorganic fertilizer.
Cost is one of the biggest problems. Because of transport expenses, farmers in inland Africa pay more than twice as much for fertilizer as farmers in Europe. And supply is often unreliable because of poor distribution systems.
The World Bank and other major interna
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