Save Our Soil

The United Nations has declared 2015 to be the International Year of Soils, and April 19-23 marks this year’s Global Soil Week. Such events, though not exactly glamorous, do not receive nearly the amount of attention they deserve.

Intact soils are an invaluable and irreplaceable resource, one that performs myriad functions in achieving the international community’s main development and environmental goals. And now they are in urgent need of protection.

By Barbara Unmüssig

ECO Trio Adventurers - Agriculture

Because we may need to double our global food production by 2050 to feed the projected world population, it is important that farmers are able to have access to the knowledge of how best to keep the effects of climate change to the barest minimum. With higher temperatures and unpredictable weather events disrupting life sustaining agriculture, combining the need for renewable energy with climate-friendly farming practices is the way to go. Eco trio adventure tells it all…

My farm fell into the gulley

Gulley erosion has swallowed houses and entire communities in Nigeria’s East. As rains are getting more extreme and water ways are blocked by construction projects and blocked drainages, small gaps in the earth grow into deep valleys of sorrow. The economy of an entire region is affected and damage is counting in billions of Naira. Watch this video to hear how Chief Tony Nzelu lost his farm and livelihood to gulley erosion.

Networking for Farmers

Driving through the landscape of northern Nigeria, the climate threat is obvious: few trees, caked soils, bent-over maize stalks with brown leaves. The desert is fast encroaching, degrading the soil in its wake; farmers are left to count their losses during harvest time. But the NGO Tubali thinks that information is key to improving food security, and they have connected farmers with knowledge on improved seeds and planting techniques. With amazing results.

Organic farming in Nigeria

Nigerian agriculture relies heavily on synthetic or nitrogen fertiliser, and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture is trying to facilitate the growth of an internationally viable fertiliser industry in Nigeria. However, not many farmers know about organic fertiliser and how it can protect soil fertility over a long period of time. The Green Deal Nigeria team interviewed two organic farmers who seem to be ahead of their time:

Imagine… Agriculture in 2030

105 words to inspire you to think of a thriving agriculture that has business incentives for small farmers using organic fertilizer, where soil fertility is a high priority and is protected in the interest of future generations, where researchers are connecting to farmers providing them with climate proof seeds… Where agriculture serves people, nature and wealth creation. Read More - Imagine Agriculture


A Soiled Reputation

Nigeria wants to become ‘the undisputed regional hub’ of chemical fertiliser production, according to the Petroleum Ministry, aiming to supply almost 10 per cent of global fertiliser – thanks to the abundant gas reserves in the country. Mineral fertilisers are experiencing a renaissance, especially in developing countries. But the efficacy of mineral fertilisers and the problems they entail have long been a matter of contention. This study provides an overview of the economic and ecological potential as well as the limitations and negative impacts of mineral fertilizers in the tropics and subtropics.

Food vs People?

Nigeria’s 160 million people are projected to increase to 255 million by the year 2030. With desertification in the north, erosion and sea level rise along the Atlantic coast and more floods, will Nigeria be able to feed itself? With almost half of the country’s arable land not cultivated, there is a real possibility to increase food production. But how should Nigeria’s future agriculture look like? Green Deal Nigeria author Prof Chinedum Nwajiuba argues that sustainable agriculture is possible if small farmers are not left behind.

By Professor Chinedum Nwajiuba

Action Points for Agriculture

Governments at local and state level need to map agricultural potentials of their areas and offer farmers advice based on research from national and international agencies.

Irrigation powered by renewable energy can reduce unemployment, hunger and poverty in the most remote areas. Capital budgets at state level should be spent on irrigation systems based on renewable energies.

Desertification can be contained with Re-Greening techniques. Government, farming and civil society representatives should visit Niger to learn from their experience of re-greening even barren land.

Paddling on the highway

Nigeria has been hit by unprecedented flooding in October 2012. With large sways of land under water, the question of food security is being discussed afresh. Under increasing climate stress and with more extreme weathers, flooding is likely to increase over the coming years. Listen to Adamu Umar as he is paddling on the Lokoja-Abuja express road. Watch Video

Farming in the desert

The scientific language is clear: over the past 105 years, the amount of rainfall per year dropped by 81 mm. The trend of declining rainfall worsened after 1970 and continues to this date. Between 1941 and 2000, average temperatures increased by an alarming 1.4-1.9 degrees Celsius. But what does it mean to young Nigerians when the rains don’t come any longer? Hear Yusuf Darama from Yobe State describe his generation’s lack of perspective. Watch Video 

Reaching Out In Penury - The uphill task of the Nigerian Extension worker

The World Bank standard ratio of an extension worker to farmers is 1:800 (ie one extension worker to 800 farmers) but in Nigeria the current ratio stands at 1:3500 (ie one extension worker to three thousand five hundred farmers). In this short film, extension workers share their plight in carrying out their duty despite inadequate funding and support from the government.

Re-Greening the Sahel

The current drought in West Africa is affecting more than 6 million people in the Republic of Niger, with international agencies calling for large scale emergency aid. But many farmers in the densely populated regions of Maradi and Zinder along the southern border of Niger would be much worse off today if they had not started their own campaign to fight the decline in soil fertility and desertification. Their technique is called Natural Regeneration, or simply Re-Greening. Niger farmers have re-greened 5 million hectares of land over the past 10 to 30 years, producing an additional 500,000 tons of food of cereals per year.



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The publication Meat Atlas sheds light on the impacts of meat and dairy production, and aims to catalyse the debate over the need for better, safer and more sustainable food and farming.

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