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From slash and burn to 'slash and mulch'

Félix, Georges (2015) From slash and burn to 'slash and mulch'. Farming Matters, March 2015, pp. 14-17.

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Online at: http://www.agriculturesnetwork.org/magazines/global/soils-for-life/slash-and-mulch

Summary

In semi-arid cropping regions of West Africa, fallow periods are getting shorter. As land becomes more scarce, farmers are not able to give their soils enough time to rest. This is leading to depletion of soil organic matter, severely threatening soil fertility and damaging soil structure. In the worst cases, crops hardly yield anything anymore, even with the addition of chemical fertilizers. In Burkina Faso, some farming families have found ways to restore their soil productive capacity through the use of low external input practices, based on mulch application of branches and leaves from local flora. The techniques described in this article are relevant for organic farming systems as they rely mainly on locally-available resources and diminish the addition of external inputs to the system.
Although third party certification of organic family farming in the study zone is non-existent, the innovation dubbed 'slash and mulch' may be an important practice to up-scale organic frameworks and eventually promote organic certification through partnerships between farmers. Developing locally suited practices based on farmer innovations is a key component for the widespread of organic schemes and promotion of ecologically-sound techniques.


EPrint Type:Newspaper or magazine article
Keywords:agroecology Sahel Burkina Faso Piliostigma reticulatum
Subjects: Farming Systems
Crop husbandry > Composting and manuring
Soil
Food systems
Knowledge management
Research affiliation: Netherlands > Wageningen University and Research Centre WUR
ISSN:2210 6499
Deposited By: Félix, Georges F.
ID Code:29411
Deposited On:02 Nov 2015 09:09
Last Modified:02 Nov 2015 09:09
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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