Many nations are taking steps to protect the tropical rain forests within their borders by creating parks and nature reserves. But it is clear that this kind of action can protect merely a fraction of the world’s rain forest lands. Maintaining parks and reserves is expensive, especially for governments who are trying to meet the competing needs of other people for income and for land on which to live.
Juan Guevera’s job is to help the farmers who live in the area around the city of Pucallpa, in the part of the Amazon Basin that lies in Peru, meet their needs for food and income.
Cochabamba, a predominantly agricultural region, has a great vegetation diversity due to the different ecosystems present. However, Cochabamba does not have the means for transforming these resources. For this reason agricultural products are generally commercialized in a fresh state, which gives rise to all the problems usually associated with this type of commercialization: perishability, price fluctuation and a diminished ability to compete in the market.
The need for applied research on the utilization and transformation of the region's vegetal resources in order to obtain products with greater value added, led a group of researchers from the Faculty of Science and Technology at the “Universidad Mayor de San Simon (UMSS)” to create, in 1980, the “Programa Agroquímico” (at present the Centro de Tecnología Agroindustrial -CTA-).
The demand for alternative agricultural systems has grown in response to the failures of conventional agriculture and to set this analysis in context the introduction provides a summary of these failures both generally and then specifically for Thailand and Japan. A brief overview of the agricultural development of both Thailand and Japan is presented to provide a background to the study. A literature review was undertaken to document other studies on alternative agriculture in the two countries and to help establish a definition for the term 'alternative agriculture'.
By incorporating an integrated approach to farming and water management, Pyneham farm in Frankland, Australia, has overcome problems caused by land degradation to create a more sustainable system. The newly established farming system, known as integrated whole farm -- whole landscape planning, has not only helped combat desertification, but also helps restore biodiversity in an area which previously experienced vast forest depletion for agricultural expansion.
The mission of the European Centre for Ecological Agriculture and Tourism-Poland (ECEAT-Poland) is to use ecological tourism to organic farms as a tool to help small farmers make a sometimes difficult transition from conventional agriculture to ecological agriculture. In this way the farmers benefit financially while environmentally sound practices are spread, and the natural landscape, biodiversity and local culture and traditions are protected and shared with visitors. By working in a cooperative and ecological way small Polish farmers will be able to protect their livelihoods and their traditional way of life in a coming period of difficult economic and social transformation.
Controlling Striga infestation
The pretty pink flowers of a weed named Striga belie its devastating impact on cereal crops such as corn, sorghum, millet, and rice. Parasitic by nature, Striga compensates for the lack of its own root system by penetrating the roots of other plants, diverting essential nutrients from them, and stunting their growth. Also known as witchweed, Striga infests an estimated two-thirds of the 73 million hectares devoted to cereal crops in Africa, resulting in crop losses of up to 70% among subsistence farmers. Striga accounts for an estimated 4.1 million tonnes in lost cereal yields each year, and is considered by many experts to be the greatest obstacle to food production in Africa, particularly in the Sahel region.
Rapid population growth and crippling economic problems in many African countries have reduced living standards and adversely affected eating habits, causing widespread malnutrition. In Nigeria, a faltering economy has led to declining imports of costly protein-rich food. Moreover, currency devaluations in other countries have resulted in drastically reduced imports of oil and animal feed.
In the semiarid zones of west and central Africa, farmers cultivate different cowpea varieties. Some are for grain for human consumption and others for animal fodder. The aboveground parts of cowpeas, except pods, are harvested for fodder.
Traditionally, farmers cultivate two main types of cowpea: early maturing varieties, grown for grain and late maturing varieties that are grown for fodder production. The dry season is characterized by scarcity in good quality fodder and hence there is a need for dual purpose varieties that give reasonable grain and fodder yields, and, thereby, maximize the output from land and labor.
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on Thursday, October 15, 2009 will urge governments, donors, researchers, farmer groups, environmentalists, and others to set aside old divisions and join forces to help millions of the world's poorest farming families boost their yields and incomes so they can lift themselves out of hunger and poverty. Gates will say the effort must be guided by the farmers themselves, adapted to local circumstances, and sustainable for the economy and the environment.