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By Sue Edwards Institute for Sustainable Development, Ethiopia Also representing IFOAM
Soil erosion and desertification are the physical expressions of land degradation, while the social and economic impacts are degraded lifestyles and pernicious poverty. An understanding of how to maintain healthy soil is essential to reverse and prevent land degradation. Healthy soil carries a good plant cover and enables rain water to infiltrate and recharge both soil water and underlying aquifers.
What is IFOAM?
IFOAM, the (International Federation Of Organic Agriculture Movements) has its head office in Bonn, Germany Its mission is leading, uniting and assisting the organic movement in its full diversity The goal is the worldwide adoption of ecologically, socially and economically sound systems that are based on the Principles of Organic Agriculture
planning and commitment to work with natural systems. because it builds on and enhances the ecological management skills of the farmer.What is organic agriculture? Organic agriculture is a whole system approach based upon a set of processes resulting in sustainable ecosystems. particularly agro-chemicals. rather than trying to change them. the fisher folk and the pastoralist. safe food. Practicing organic or agro-ecological agriculture requires ecological knowledge. good nutrition. animal welfare and social justice. . It is more than just a system of production that includes or excludes certain inputs.
Organic agriculture and mitigating climate change In 2004. It looked at the possibilities of reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) . IFOAM commissioned a scoping study on ³The Role of Organic Agriculture in Mitigating Climate Change´.
and a system of inspection and certification to guarantee adherence to the process . Organic agriculture is a systematic strategy. which may reduce GHG emissions and enhance sequestration of carbon The strategy includes basic principles to be followed. suitable production technologies. compulsory standards to be respected.
renewable resources in locally organized production systems To minimize all forms of pollution . as far as possible.Basic principles To encourage and enhance biological cycles within the farming system To maintain and increase long-term fertility in soils To use.
also grasslands and forests ± Compost and biogas ± Animal husbandry. particularly locally produced and appropriate feeds. and controlling grazing ± Paddy cultivation with aeration periods .Emission Reductions Carbon dioxide through: ± Avoidance of shifting cultivation ± Reduction of fossil fuel consumption Methane ± Soil management to increased oxidation of methane.
and use of crops (sunflower seeds) that reduce NO2 emissions . Nitrous oxide ± produced by all forms of nitrogen ± No synthetic N fertilizer is used ± Nitrogen comes from within the system thus avoiding overdoses and high losses ± Animal stocking rates are limited ± Diets for dairy cows lower in protein and higher in fibre.
Biomass as a substitute for fossil fuel ± Directly as a crop ± Processing slurry in biogas Agroforestry ± Shade trees in plantation crops ± Fuel wood plantation ± Trees in cropland ± Living fences ± etc .
Can organic agriculture combat poverty? An example from northern Ethiopia Despite the fact that Ethiopia is also known as the µwater tower¶ of the Horn of Africa. it is better known for the images of emaciated children and the high rate of soil erosion Can this be reversed? .
MAP OF ETHIOPIA WITH REGIONAL BOUNDARIES .
The popular image is a desert dry. and very large numbers of free-ranging livestock . with very little vegetation.
out of reach for most smallholder farmers both economically and ecologically . and there were no inputs in technologies or ideas to help the farmers improve their productivity The Sasakawa-Global 2000 approach uses high external inputs.Why the degradation? Efforts at State building destroyed local organization in most of the country starting from in 2nd half of the 19th century Development efforts started only in the 1960s and largely ignored smallholder (peasant) farmers despite the fact that 90% or more of the food comes from them The 1974 µrevolution¶ and its impact on land resource use The land was mined.
The existing strengths Farmers control their own seeds and there is still a wealth of agro-biodiversity and farmers¶ traditional knowledge Traditional methods for managing and using land resources.g. grazing land. and this is being strengthened through the present policy of decentralization . farms are still in place in many communities Local community members work together. e.
The components of the project. or basket of choices Making and using compost (ISD initiative) Trench bunds for catching both soil and water (BoA initiative) Planting small multipurpose trees ± particularly Sesbania ± and local grasses (ISD and BoA initiative improved by farmers) Halting gullies (at farmers demand) Making communal ponds (farmers initiative) Making and using bylaws to control access and use of local biological resources and control grazing (ISD initiative) .
Adi Nefas in 1997 and 2003 .
Zeban Sas grazing area in 1996 starting the rehabilitation work Zeban Sas grazing area in October 2003 .
Adi Nefas All the components being used in October 2003 Pond Rehabilitated gully Faba Bea n Sesbania trees and long grasses Composted fields of tef. wheat and barley .
Training on Compost .
. Fields were selected and 3 one-metre square plots were cut and threshed. 10 Birr is equivalent to 1 Euro.Impact of compost on yields Sampling technique (FAO method for monitoring food security) Samples were taken with the farmers.5 Birr equals 1 USD. or 8. and the straw and grain weighed with the farmers.
Table 1: Grain yields (in kg/ha). expenses and returns (in Birr) for Adi Nefas in 2003 (7 years) Crop Faba Bean Finger Millet Maize Teff Input Compost Check Compost Check Compost Check Compost Fertilizer Check Wheat Compost Fertilizer Check Barley Compost Check Yield 4391 2287 2650 833 5480 708 1384 1033 739 2250 1480 842 1633 859 Gross income 13173 6861 4505 1416 8768 1133 3875 2892 2069 5625 3700 2105 3266 1718 Fertilizer cost 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 377 0 0 377 0 0 0 Net income 13173 6861 4505 1416 8768 1133 3875 2515 2069 5625 3323 2105 3266 1718 .
expenses and returns (in Birr) for Adi Gua edad in 2003 (1st year) Gross Fertilizer income cost 8700 3300 2298 3400 2436 850 3200 1813 1088 0 377 0 0 377 0 0 377 0 Crop Faba Bean Input Compost Fertilizer Check Yield 2900 1100 766 2000 1433 500 2000 1133 680 Net income 8700 2923 2298 3400 2059 850 3200 1436 1088 Finger Millet Compost Fertilizer Check Maize Compost Fertilizer Check .Table 2: Grain yields (in kg/ha).
.5 Birr equals 1 USD.Table 2: continued Crop Barley Input Compost Fertilizer Check Wheat Compost Fertilizer Check Teff Compost Fertilizer Check Yield 2193 1283 900 1020 1617 590 1650 1150 390 Gross income 4386 2566 1800 2550 4043 1475 4620 3220 1092 Fertilizer cost 0 377 0 0 377 0 0 377 0 Net income 4386 2189 1800 2550 3666 1475 4620 2843 1092 10 Birr is equivalent to 1 Euro. or 8.
Crops not usually given chemical fertilizer Finger Millet Faba Bean Field Pea These are usually not given much attention. It is interesting to see that the checks for faba bean and field pea in Adibo Mossa in 2002 were nearly the same as the compost treatment. but with compost. They were growing on previously composted fields and were benefiting from the residual effect of the compost . high yield increases have been obtained.
Faba Bean with and without compost Yields have risen from less than 500 kg/ha on non-compost treated fields to around 2. .500 kg/ha when compost is applied.
1998 Field Pea / Adi Abo Mossa/02 Field Pea / Adi Abo Mossa/98 Faba Bean / Adi Abo Mossa/02 Faba Bean / Adi Abo Mossa/98 Finger Millet/ Guroro/02 Finger Millet/ Adi Nefas/02 Compost Check 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 Yield (kg/ha) . field pea and finger millet in 3 sites .Yields (kg/ha) for faba bean.
Ziban Sas was growing only wheat and barley mixed together and a little teff. but earthworms and other useful soil organisms establish well. Reduced weeds: weed seeds. crops grown on composted soil resist wilting for about two weeks longer than those grown on soil treated with chemical fertilizer. but now other crops e. . Increased moisture retention capacity of the soil: if rain stops early. maize and faba bean. are also grown. pathogens and insect pests are killed by the high temperature in the compost pits.Indicators of Sustainability Maintaining or increasing agricultural biodiversity: for example.g.
Economic returns: farmers have been able to stop buying chemical fertilizer. . but they still get even higher yields. Flavour: food is said to taste better. Residual effect: farmers who have used compost for one or two years can obtain high yields from their crops the next year without applying compost afresh. Disease and pest resistance: as seen through the problem of shoot fly on teff and root borer on faba bean in Tahitai Maichew and La¶elai Maichew respectively. crops are more disease and pest resistant.
the Ethiopian Government passed a law setting out a framework for organic farming. The results of the farmers in Tigray in producing and using compost indicate that the aim for Ethiopia having a substantial number of farmers producing organically could be realized.Ethiopia and Organic Production In March 2006. .
These statutes were developed by consensus to govern the activities of each member as well as that of the whole community in order to manage the land under the usufruct right of each member and the community so that the whole environment in which the community lives and its productivity are improved sustainably.Protection and promotion of sustainable livelihoods Developing bylaws has been an essential part of the community decision making and implementation. .
Ibrahim Abouleish Organic cotton farmers in Benin NOGUM and EPOPA in Uganda and Tanzania >2% of production is organic Dried fruits and vegetables from over 600 producers. Burkino Fasso . led by Dr.Other examples from Africa SEKEM in Egypt. mostly women.
A farmer of the future .
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