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Can an African 'green revolution' help feed the world?

b-sama:

“Africa is now the last frontier in terms of arable land,” said James Nyoro, the Rockefeller Foundation’s managing director for Africa. “With the population growing to 9 billion, the rest of the world will have to depend upon Africa to feed it.” Some in the sector see huge promise. “I have no doubt whatsoever that Africa can feed itself and that Africa can be a major contributor to world food security,” Namanga Ngongi, the former president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), told AlertNet. “If you only increase productivity by 50 percent in Africa, Africa will go from food deficit to food surplus. And that can be done with access to simple inputs that are available today.” The barriers that have so far held back Africa’ agricultural success are formidable. They include lack of land tenure, particularly for women, and shrinking plot sizes; limited use of irrigation and fertiliser; unreliable water supplies; and inadequate access to credit. Unpredictable weather, degraded soils, inefficient markets and poor infrastructure compound the problem, while a history of political instability, conflict and poor governance has made investors reluctant to pump money into agriculture. But experts say the formula for increasing yields for African smallholders, who make up 80 percent of the continent’s farmers, is relatively simple. Just organise them into larger groups, provide them with better materials and training and connect them to markets. “In a sense, it’s a no brainer,” said Gordon Conway, a professor of international development at Imperial College, London. “Give them fertiliser. Give them seed. Give them water. And they can do it.”

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restlessyouth13:

“Eating is an Agricultural Act.” - Wendell Berry(artwork by Rose Friedman and Justin Lander)

#Corn regains initiative in US battle for acres

fertilizermarkets:

Corn won back some ground in the battle against soybeans to attract area in US farmers’ planting schedules amid talk of a shortage of seed, and of South American growers planning huge sowings of the oilseed.

With new crop November soybeans falling in Chicago, and new crop December corn making some headway, a much-watched ratio between the two contracts fell back below the key level of 2.50:1.

The 2.50:1 point represents “a big number”, Don Roose, president at broker US Commodities said, in that it marks the tipping point between encouraging corn sowing, at smaller numbers, or soybean plantings, at higher levels where the ratio has tended to since US Department of Agriculture sowings numbers two weeks ago.

A USDA survey showed farmers intending to plant their highest acreage with corn in 75 years, in part at the expense of soybeans, despite the prospect of US stocks of the oilseed becoming depleted as importers seek replacement supplies for those lost to disappointing South American harvests.

Rad more at Agrimoney

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cosmonautcc:

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil.
In natural conditions, soil acts as a mineral nutrient reservoir but the soil itself is not essential to plant growth. When the mineral nutrients in the soil dissolve in water, plant roots are able to absorb them. When the required mineral nutrients are introduced into a plant’s water supply artificially, soil is no longer required for the plant to thrive. Almost any terrestrial plant will grow with hydroponics. Hydroponics is also a standard technique in biology research and teaching.
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