ROLE OF ORGANIC AGRICULTURE IN P

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					     ROLE OF ORGANIC
AGRICULTURE IN PREVENTING
   AND REVERSING LAND
      DEGRADATION

             By Sue Edwards
 Institute for Sustainable Development,
                 Ethiopia
         Also representing IFOAM
          Land degradation
Soil erosion and desertification are the
 physical expressions of land degradation,
 while the social and economic impacts are
 degraded lifestyles and pernicious poverty.
 An understanding of how to maintain
 healthy soil is essential to reverse and
 prevent land degradation. Healthy soil
 carries a good plant cover and enables
 rain water to infiltrate and recharge both
 soil water and underlying aquifers.
            What is IFOAM?
• IFOAM, the (International Federation Of Organic
  Agriculture Movements) has its head office in
  Bonn, Germany
• Its mission is leading, uniting and assisting the
  organic movement in its full diversity
• The goal is the worldwide adoption of
  ecologically, socially and economically sound
  systems that are based on the Principles of
  Organic Agriculture
   What is organic agriculture?
• Organic agriculture is a whole system approach
  based upon a set of processes resulting in
  sustainable ecosystems, safe food, good
  nutrition, animal welfare and social justice. It is
  more than just a system of production that
  includes or excludes certain inputs, particularly
  agro-chemicals, because it builds on and
  enhances the ecological management skills of
  the farmer, the fisher folk and the pastoralist.
  Practicing organic or agro-ecological agriculture
  requires ecological knowledge, planning and
  commitment to work with natural systems, rather
  than trying to change them.
 Organic agriculture and mitigating
          climate change
• In 2004, IFOAM commissioned a scoping
  study on “The Role of Organic Agriculture
  in Mitigating Climate Change”.
• It looked at the possibilities of reducing
  greenhouse gases (GHG)
• Organic agriculture is a systematic
  strategy, which may reduce GHG
  emissions and enhance sequestration of
  carbon
• The strategy includes basic principles to
  be followed, compulsory standards to be
  respected, suitable production
  technologies, and a system of inspection
  and certification to guarantee adherence
  to the process
           Basic principles
• To encourage and enhance biological
  cycles within the farming system
• To maintain and increase long-term fertility
  in soils
• To use, as far as possible, renewable
  resources in locally organized production
  systems
• To minimize all forms of pollution
         Emission Reductions
• Carbon dioxide through:
  – Avoidance of shifting cultivation
  – Reduction of fossil fuel consumption
• Methane
  – Soil management to increased oxidation of methane,
    also grasslands and forests
  – Compost and biogas
  – Animal husbandry, particularly locally produced and
    appropriate feeds, and controlling grazing
  – Paddy cultivation with aeration periods
• Nitrous oxide – produced by all forms of
  nitrogen
  – No synthetic N fertilizer is used
  – Nitrogen comes from within the system thus
    avoiding overdoses and high losses
  – Animal stocking rates are limited
  – Diets for dairy cows lower in protein and
    higher in fibre, and use of crops (sunflower
    seeds) that reduce NO2 emissions
• Biomass as a substitute for fossil fuel
  – Directly as a crop
  – Processing slurry in biogas
• Agroforestry
  – Shade trees in plantation crops
  – Fuel wood plantation
  – Trees in cropland
  – Living fences
  – etc
Can organic agriculture combat
          poverty?
• An example from northern Ethiopia
• Despite the fact that Ethiopia is also
  known as the „water tower‟ of the Horn of
  Africa, it is better known for the images of
  emaciated children and the high rate of
  soil erosion
• Can this be reversed?
MAP OF ETHIOPIA
WITH REGIONAL
BOUNDARIES
• The popular image is a ‘desert’ – dry, with
  very little vegetation, and very large
  numbers of free-ranging livestock
         Why the degradation?
• Efforts at State building destroyed local organization in
  most of the country starting from in 2nd half of the 19th
  century
• Development efforts started only in the 1960s and
  largely ignored smallholder (peasant) farmers despite
  the fact that 90% or more of the food comes from them
• The 1974 „revolution‟ and its impact on land resource
  use
• The land was mined, and there were no inputs in
  technologies or ideas to help the farmers improve their
  productivity
• The Sasakawa-Global 2000 approach uses high external
  inputs, out of reach for most smallholder farmers both
  economically and ecologically
     The existing strengths
• Farmers control their own seeds and there is still
  a wealth of agro-biodiversity and farmers‟
  traditional knowledge
• Traditional methods for managing and using
  land resources, e.g. grazing land, farms are still
  in place in many communities
• Local community members work together, and
  this is being strengthened through the present
  policy of decentralization
   The components of the
project, or ‘basket of choices’
• Making and using compost (ISD initiative)
• Trench bunds for catching both soil and water
  (BoA initiative)
• Planting small multipurpose trees – particularly
  Sesbania – and local grasses (ISD and BoA
  initiative improved by farmers)
• Halting gullies (at farmers demand)
• Making communal ponds (farmers initiative)
• Making and using bylaws to control access and
  use of local biological resources and control
  grazing (ISD initiative)
Adi Nefas in
1997 and 2003
Zeban Sas
grazing area in
1996 – starting
the rehabilitation
work




                     Zeban Sas grazing
                     area in October
                     2003
                   Adi Nefas
 All the components being used in October 2003


                                                          Faba
Pond                          Rehabilitated               Bea
                                 gully                     n




                     Sesbania
                  trees and long               Composted fields of
                     grasses                  tef, wheat and barley
Training on Compost
   Impact of compost on
          yields
• Sampling technique (FAO method for
  monitoring food security)
• Samples were taken with the farmers.
• Fields were selected and 3 one-metre
  square plots were cut and threshed,
  and the straw and grain weighed with
  the farmers.


 10 Birr is equivalent to 1 Euro, or 8.5 Birr equals 1 USD.
        Table 1: Grain yields (in kg/ha), expenses and
       returns (in Birr) for Adi Nefas in 2003 (7 years)
                                        Gross     Fertilizer
Crop             Input        Yield      income       cost         Net income
Faba Bean        Compost        4391     13173                 0      13173
                 Check           2287      6861                0        6861
Finger Millet    Compost        2650      4505                 0        4505
                 Check            833      1416                0        1416
Maize            Compost        5480      8768                 0        8768
                 Check            708      1133                0        1133
Teff             Compost        1384      3875                 0        3875
                 Fertilizer      1033      2892          377            2515
                 Check            739      2069                0        2069
Wheat            Compost        2250      5625                 0        5625
                 Fertilizer      1480      3700          377            3323
                 Check            842      2105                0        2105
Barley           Compost        1633      3266                 0        3266
                 Check            859      1718                0        1718
 Table 2: Grain yields (in kg/ha), expenses and returns (in Birr) for Adi
                       Gua’edad in 2003 (1st year)

                                           Gross   Fertilizer
Crop            Input           Yield       income    cost          Net income
Faba Bean       Compost           2900        8700              0        8700

                Fertilizer         1100        3300         377           2923

                Check               766        2298             0         2298
Finger Millet   Compost           2000        3400              0        3400

                Fertilizer         1433        2436         377           2059

                Check               500         850             0          850
Maize           Compost           2000        3200              0        3200

                Fertilizer         1133        1813         377           1436

                Check               680        1088             0         1088
                               Table 2: continued
                                                Gross         Fertilizer
Crop          Input               Yield          income           cost         Net income
Barley        Compost                2193           4386                   0         4386

              Fertilizer              1283           2566             377             2189

              Check                       900        1800                  0          1800
Wheat         Compost                 1020           2550                  0          2550

              Fertilizer             1617           4043              377             3666

              Check                       590        1475                  0          1475
Teff          Compost                1650           4620                   0         4620

              Fertilizer              1150           3220             377             2843

              Check                       390        1092                  0          1092

 10 Birr is equivalent to 1 Euro, or 8.5 Birr equals 1 USD.
      Crops not usually given chemical
                  fertilizer

Finger Millet
Faba Bean
Field Pea
These are usually not given much attention, but with
   compost, high yield increases have been obtained.
It is interesting to see that the ‘checks’ for faba bean
   and field pea in Adibo Mossa in 2002 were nearly
   the same as the compost treatment.
They were growing on previously composted fields
   and were benefiting from the residual effect of the
   compost
Faba Bean with and without
compost




                             Yields have risen from
                             less than 500 kg/ha on
                             non-compost treated fields
                             to around 2,500 kg/ha
                             when compost is applied.
   Yields (kg/ha) for faba bean, field pea and finger millet in 3 sites - 1998




 Field Pea / Adi Abo Mossa/02

 Field Pea / Adi Abo Mossa/98

Faba Bean / Adi Abo Mossa/02

Faba Bean / Adi Abo Mossa/98

       Finger Millet/ Guroro/02

    Finger Millet/ Adi Nefas/02


           Compost                0     500     1000    1500    2000    2500     3000
           Check                                   Yield (kg/ha)
   Indicators of Sustainability
• Maintaining or increasing agricultural biodiversity:
  for example, Ziban Sas was growing only wheat
  and barley mixed together and a little teff, but now
  other crops e.g. maize and faba bean, are also
  grown.
• Reduced weeds: weed seeds, pathogens and
  insect pests are killed by the high temperature in
  the compost pits, but earthworms and other useful
  soil organisms establish well.
• Increased moisture retention capacity of the soil: if
  rain stops early, crops grown on composted soil
  resist wilting for about two weeks longer than those
  grown on soil treated with chemical fertilizer.
• Disease and pest resistance: as seen through the
  problem of shoot fly on teff and root borer on faba
  bean in Tahitai Maichew and La‟elai Maichew
  respectively, crops are more disease and pest
  resistant.
• Residual effect: farmers who have used compost
  for one or two years can obtain high yields from
  their crops the next year without applying compost
  afresh.
• Economic returns: farmers have been able to stop
  buying chemical fertilizer, but they still get even
  higher yields.
• Flavour: food is said to taste better.
    Ethiopia and Organic Production

• In March 2006, the Ethiopian Government
  passed a law setting out a framework for
  organic farming.
• The results of the farmers in Tigray in
  producing and using compost indicate that
  the aim for Ethiopia having a substantial
  number of farmers producing organically
  could be realized.
 Protection and promotion of
   sustainable livelihoods
• Developing bylaws has been an essential part
  of the community decision making and
  implementation.
• These statutes were developed by consensus
  to govern the activities of each member as
  well as that of the whole community in order
  to manage the land under the usufruct right
  of each member and the community so that
  the whole environment in which the
  community lives and its productivity are
  improved sustainably.
   Other examples from Africa
• SEKEM in Egypt, led by Dr. Ibrahim
  Abouleish
• Organic cotton farmers in Benin
• NOGUM and EPOPA in Uganda and
  Tanzania >2% of production is organic
• Dried fruits and vegetables from over 600
  producers, mostly women, Burkino Fasso
A farmer of the future

				
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