Smallholder poverty in sub-Saharan Africa is often linked to sandy soils, which hold little water and are low in nutrients. A new technology may be able to enrich fields and farmers without massive investments in irrigation and fertilizer,
Many farmers across sub-Saharan Africa try to coax crops out of sandy soils that are not ideal for holding water and nutrients. Their harvests are predictably poor. A traditional approach would have them apply more fertilizers and use irrigation, but both of these options require access to resources and infrastructure that many of them do not have. A relatively new technology modeled for eight African countries, and currently being tested in Zimbabwe, shows potential for substantially improving harvests through increased water retention and accumulation of organic material to make soils more fertile.
The technology consists of long strips of polyethylene membranes installed in a U-shape below and near the root zones of crops. Known as subsurface water retention technology (SWRT), these membranes have mostly been used in different soils in other regions of the world. Now for the first time, their impact was modeled for Africa. Projected results showed that the SWRT could increase maize yields in the eight African countries in the study by close to 50 percent and capture some 15 million tons of carbon in 20 years.
“With this new technology, sandy soil has the potential to lead a new green revolution,” said George Nyamadzawo, a professor at Bindura University in Zimbabwe.
The researchers said this simple technology, if deployed and adopted at scale, could address major issues facing sub-Saharan African farmers, including food security and erratic rainfall patterns, while also helping countries meet climate change mitigation targets. The study was published in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems in in September.
“We should refuse to allow sandy soils to limit smallholder farmers from reaching their full potential,” said Ngonidzashe Chirinda, a researcher at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) who co-authored the research. “In arid and semiarid regions with poor soils, smallholder communities continue to suffer due to soil-based poverty. Our research shows SWRT has the potential to effectively change this without recurring to traditional and potentially expensive remedies.”
For the study, SWRT was modeled for the sandy soils of eight countries in Southern Africa and Eastern Africa: Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. The main objective of the study was to model scenarios of adoption of SWRT and estimate increases in maize yields, crop biomass, and soil carbon sequestration.
Co-authors include scientists at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), in Sweden; Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, in Kenya; Cape Peninsula University of Technology, in South Africa; Bindura University of Science Education, in Zimbabwe; and Michigan State University (MSU), in the United States.
“Potential benefits are obvious with new technologies such as SWRT, but there is a need to overcome non-technical barriers; this requires support from decision-makers who can put in place the necessary policies and financial mechanisms to support farmer adoption,” said Libère Nkurunziza, the lead author and researcher at SLU. “Similar technologies should be tested and adapted to smallholder farmer conditions to solve productivity challenges on sandy soils.”
Using data collected in other regions where SWRT has been tested, the authors made their projections for Africa. The technology is now being tested in Zimbabwe, through a new Swedish Research Council-funded project, called Productive Sands, that is being led by SLU.
“The new innovative, long-term SWRT will lead the way for modifying soils that best assist plant resilience to changing climates and associated weather patterns, enabling smallholder farmers of sandy soils to establish reasonable nutritious food supplies and annual income across all nations,” said Alvin Smucker, a co-author from MSU and one of the pioneers of the technology.
The Latest on: Water retention technology
via Google News
The Latest on: Water retention technology
- UAEU signs MoU with CAFU to plant Ghaf tree seeds in duneson June 20, 2021 at 5:00 pm
The United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) has signed a partnership MoU with CAFU, a leading company in technology services, has to conduct in-depth research on the successful cultivation and ...
- Coated Paper Market Size Forecast to Reach $60.1 Billion by 2026on June 18, 2021 at 4:16 am
Coated Paper Market size is forecast to reach 60 1 billion by 2026 after growing at a CAGR of 3 4 during 2021 2026 To enhance paper surface properties such as gloss weight smoothness and ink retention ...
- Navigating the retention nightmare: Meeting competing obligations for data retentionon June 17, 2021 at 7:09 am
As new data privacy laws, cybersecurity expectations, and unforeseen risks increasingly intersect (and potentially conflict) with long-standing financial services regulations, compliance professionals ...
- Birchard library board approves $6.17 million maximum price for addition, renovationon June 16, 2021 at 9:44 am
Birchard Public Library's board on Tuesday approved a guaranteed maximum price of $6.17 million for an addition and renovation project.
- Agricultural Surfactants Market Size Forecast to Reach $1.4 Billion by 2025on June 14, 2021 at 6:30 am
Agricultural Surfactants Market size is forecast to reach 1 4 billion by 2025 after growing at a CAGR of 6 3 during 2020 2025 With the growing pressure on global food production and the adoption of ...
- Mobile Marketing Powerhouse CleverTap Partners with Logicserve to Help Clients Stand Out in India's Booming Smartphone Marketon June 6, 2021 at 10:43 pm
"CleverTap's technology will help us empower brands to take their mobile customer experiences to new heights. Considering their expertise in supporting growth at scale and driving retention ...
- Hawaii Volcanic Water Leads Category with Launch of Subscription Program Powered by Ordergrooveon June 3, 2021 at 11:02 am
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ordergroove, the leader in Relationship Commerce, announced today that Hawaii Volcanic, a purpose-driven, premium naturally alkaline water brand from Hawaii, has ...
- A 150-Year-Old Gothic Mansion Refitted With Green Technology to List in Upstate New York for $11.25 Millionon June 3, 2021 at 7:43 am
The home now boasts geothermal heating, solar power, enhanced insulation, a rain-water retention system and a green roof, among other energy-efficient improvements, according to the listing.
- Hippo: Disruptive, But Too Expensiveon May 23, 2021 at 7:48 pm
Hippo is going public through a SPAC merger with Reinvent Technology Partners ... When our customers have a significant water leak in the basement, a hole in the roof, a burglary, they really ...
- Why Soil Science Society is concerned about organic fertiliser importson May 22, 2021 at 5:49 pm
The SSSSL welcomes the Government’s initiative to introduce a green socio-economy using eco-friendly technologies and promote organic ... mitigating climate change, and enhancing water retention. Thus ...
via Bing News