By Frédéric Baudron, Christian Thierfelder and Isaiah Nyagumbo, CIMMYT agronomists
The controversial debate among researchers about the suitability of conservation agriculture for smallholder farmers in Africa continues while rural inhabitants in Africa face food insecurity and degrading resources. What is the role of CIMMYT’s research on CA in Africa?
Research on maize improvement by international agricultural research centers and partners in SSA is increasing harvests in the region and enhancing farmers’ lives.
In Nigeria, farmers say that improved varieties are addressing constraints such as the parasitic weed Striga, drought, poor soil fertility and pests and diseases that limit productivity, reduce yield and make farming unattractive. For farmer Hajiya Hafsatu Riruwai the encounter with improved maize technologies last year brought a profound change to her life.
In 2013, IPNI launched the 4R project to develop and promote best fertilizer management practices. The 4R concept appears simple: apply the right source of nutrient, at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place (detailed guidelines can be found in IPNI’s 4R Nutrient Stewardship Framework). Implementation, however, is both knowledge-intensive and site-specific.