Food for 9 Billion: Ghana

Today brought another installment in the ongoing public media project, Food for 9 Billion. Marketplace aired a feature from reporter Jori Lewis examining a longstanding concern for African farmers: soil. “[F]or thousands of years subsistence farmers have been taking nutrients out of the soil and not putting them back. In effect, farmers are mining the soil.” Eventually, the herbicide glyphosate (AKA RoundUp) caught on with some farmers. But an alternative approach has yet to find widespread support, despite the need. “No-till systems also need cover crops to prevent erosion and other plants to deliver more nutrients to the soil. But all that has been a harder sell to Ghanaian farmers than glyphosate and fertilizer. After all, why let the dirt rest and recharge when chemicals can help it produce without interruption?”

Head here for the full audio, transcript, and photos.

Picture from a meeting with innovative farmer Joel Yiri, Jirapa Village in Ghana. He started developing his plot of land by using manure from his pigs when he realized the soil had become infertile. He is also serious about keeping a record of all input costs and revenues, meaning that he now can track loses and change crops and production techniques accordingly. Read the accompanying story on the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) blog at the post, “We should not farm anymore like our grandfathers did,” by clicking on the image. Photo: P. Casier (CGIAR) via Flickr.

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