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Effort to confront Africa's soil health crisis helps millions of farmers triple yields
Date:8/22/2014

This news release is available in French.

NAIROBI (22 August 2014)With the steady drain of essential nutrients from African soils looming as a major threat to food security across the continent, a new report released today finds that over the last five years, 1.7 million African farmers in 13 countries have embraced farming practices that have rejuvenated 1.6 million hectares and helped them double or even triple crop yields.

The analysis from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) focuses on intensive efforts initiated five years ago to move aggressively to support smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, where a lack of agriculture extension services and a scarcity of basic soil supplements have contributed to severely depressed yields for crucial staples like maize, banana and cassava. While farmers in many parts of the world regularly harvest up to five tons of maize per hectare (about 2.5 acres), African farmers typically harvest one ton. Overall, depleted soils cost African farmers US$4 billion each year in lost productivity.

"We've shown that it's possible to work on a very large scale to help smallholder farmers adopt sustainable and profitable approaches to crop production, with the proof there for all to see in the form of significantly larger yields," said Dr. Bashir Jama, director of AGRA's Soil Health Program.

The new evidence of success in addressing what many agriculture experts view as the most significant soil health crisis in the world comes in the wake of a June summit in Equatorial Guinea during which the leaders of African Union member countries pledged to significantly step up their support for the continent's long neglected agriculture sector. As part of their commitment to ending hunger in Africa by 2025, the heads
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Contact: Saburi Chirimi
schirimi@burnesscommunications.com
254-721-569-369
Burness Communications

Anne Wangalachi
254-710-230-600
awangalachi@agra.org
AGRA
Source:Eurekalert


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