Sustainable Agriculture Extension Manual

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Submitted By kratzo
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Introduction
Millions of African smallholders—farmers, herders and fisherfolk—are resource-poor and suffer from food insecurity. Their low incomes mean they are unable to make investments and take on risks. Their agricultural systems are buffeted by sudden, acute shocks caused by natural and man-made hazards—drought, flooding, erosion, conflicts. Long-term trends, in part the result of international markets, national policy decisions and institutional frameworks, often move against them. The food-security problem is not merely an inability to produce enough food to keep pace with population growth. Such a simplistic reckoning fails to take into account the ecological, cultural, social and economic features which are the bedrock of sustainable agriculture. Environmental degradation and a diminishing resource base seriously affect African farmers who depend on rainfed agriculture. As critical watersheds are deforested, water supplies have become unreliable and the climate less predictable. Local actors are seldom consulted when agricultural policies are formulated. Small-scale farmers (especially women) find it hard to get credit, seeds and other inputs, and the information they need to farm their land in a profitable, sustainable way. Some governments still control the prices of key farm outputs, and unscrupulous traders manipulate the prices of others. In addition, political instability is a major obstacle to food security and sustainable agriculture in many countries. Access to sufficient food is a sustainable manner is a fundamental human right. Realizing this, NGOs, community organizations, research institutions and governments in Africa have been testing alternative agricultural technologies and approaches for over a decade. Such approaches as "conservation farming" and organic agriculture are becoming part of the technical packages of both international and…...

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