FRW news in brief

    | August 19, 2013

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    1- Climate-smart Kenyan crop hits a setback – hungry birds

    A new fast-maturing, drought-tolerant variety of sorghum has hit an unexpected roadblock in Kenya. Hungry birds are eating it just before harvest. The Kenya Agricultural Research Institute introduced a new variety called gadam, only to discover that it is a favourite of the red-billed quelea bird.

    Farmers in eastern Kenya have devised creative solutions to the problem. Some use scarecrows, while others string shiny compact discs around the crop to scare the birds away. But experts say the most effective way to reduce damage is for many more farmers to plant the crop so that they can share the losses.

    Experts hope to develop an answer to the problem soon. Gadam is one of the most successful climate change adaptation measures for dryland farmers in Kenya.

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    2- Conservation agriculture puts Zimbabwean farmers on firmer footing

    Elizabeth Msimanga used to harvest about four hundred and fifty kilograms of maize from her farm. But since the Nkayi District farmer started practicing conservation agriculture, she gets up to three thousand kilograms.

    Conservation agriculture is based on three principles: minimal soil disturbance, leaving crop residues to act as mulch after harvest, and rotating cereals with legumes to replenish the soil.

    Farmers who use conservation agriculture can achieve yields that are fifteen to seventy-five per cent higher than with conventional practices.

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    3- Fast-growing groundnuts keep Ghana’s farmers afloat amid changing climate

    It’s the end of the dry season in Ghana, and one sound fills the air: the crunching, cracking sound of groundnuts being shelled.

    Groundnuts are a staple crop for Domogyelle Naalubaar and many other Ghanaian farmers. But when unreliable rains threatened Mr. Naalubaar’s crop, he switched from a local variety to the “China” variety.

    The new variety matures months earlier and the nuts are worth more because of their high oil content. While improved varieties can be costly and difficult to access, Mr. Naalubaar says this improved variety helped increase his food security amidst a changing climate.

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