Wednesday, April 4, 2012

African agriculture: Dirt poor

Sub-Sarahan Africa is one of the poorest regions on Earth, in both living standards and soil fertility. The depleted soil has caused average yields of grain crops to stagnate at around 1 tonne per hectare since the 1960s. By contrast, yields now reach 2.5 t ha−1 in south Asia and 4.5 t ha−1 in east Asia, where chemical fertilizers have been widely adopted since the green revolution (see 'Uneven landscape'). Fertilizer use across Africa has remained at around 9 kg ha−1 of cultivated land over the past 40 years, whereas Asia uses 96 kg ha−1 of inorganic fertilizer.

The key to tackling hunger in Africa is enriching its soil. The big debate is about how to do it.

Read more.......

Source: Nature 483, 525–527 ( doi:10.1038/483525a

by Natasha Gilbert


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