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Case Studies

Addressing the Challenges of Food Insecurity and Environmental Degradation in Zambia

Location: Luangwa Valley, Zambia

Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO) has helped people address the challenges of food insecurity and environmental degradation while conserving wildlife and other natural resources. COMACO is one of the few programs that operate at the scale of an entire ecosystem—contributing to increased wildlife numbers, better protected habitats, improved food security, and better incomes.

Agro-Ecology and Water Harvesting in Zimbabwe

Location: Zvishavane, Zimbabwe

Since the late 1960s, Zephaniah Phiri Maseko has pioneered a unique, innovative vision for community and agricultural development through judicious water management; his system has been widely adopted across the country, increasing agricultural productivity and resilience in this semi-arid region.

Agroforestry for Food Security

Location: Malawi

Malawi faces myriad of environmental, social, and human health challenges, including food insecurity, land degradation and deforestation. An agroforestry program promotes tree planting to increase crop yields in previously depleted soils, reverse deforestation, and empower women.

Agroforestry to Improve Farm Productivity in Mali

Location: Koutiala region, Mali

A research project on improved fallows examined how short-term rotations of selected perennial tree and shrub species impact cereal yields and soil quality in subsistence maize cropping systems. The effects of improved fallows on maize yields were significant when combining a tree species (Gliricidia) and a nitrogen-fixing legume (Stylosanthes). The results suggest that this innovative agroforestry strategy holds significant promise for enhancing soil fertility, maize yields and food security throughout Mali and sub-Saharan Africa.

Biointensive Agriculture Training Program in Kenya

Location: Kitale, Kenya

Manor House Agricultural Center provides training in low input farming as an alternative to conventional methods, which are heavily reliant on external inputs. Farmers practicing biointensive farming techniques experience significant yield increases and improved soil fertility and grow more nutritious crops. Since 1984, over 100,000 farmers have received this training, and an estimated 200,000 households now use methods of biointensive agriculture.

Biological Pest Control: Push-pull in East Africa

Location: Kenya

A highly successful, ecologically based pest and weed management system was introduced in 1999 to resource-poor smallholder maize farmers in Kenya. Used by thousands of farmers in East Africa, the “push-pull” strategy significantly increases maize yields, helps control pests and reduces reliance on pesticides.

Conservation Agriculture in Tanzania

Location: Arusha Region, Northern Tanzania

The Eotulelo Farmer Field School participants increased yields dramatically and improved resource management through erosion-control technologies, sustainability measures, improved cattle and goat sheds, fodder planting, and new income sources.

Drought Prone Malawi and Zambia Turn to Cassava

Location: Malawi and Zambia

Governments and specialized international agencies have successfully promoted cassava production in Malawi and Zambia in order to reduce drought vulnerability and dependency on maize monocropping.

Ecologically-based Rural Development in Mali

Location: Douentza Region, Mali

A Unitarian Service Committee of Canada (USC-Canada) project in eastern Mali combined educational programs, soil conservation techniques, agro-forestry practices, seed conservation, market gardening, and fruit tree planting as key innovations to fight hunger and poverty. From 1995 to 1998, over 5,000 farmers received training on ecological agriculture techniques; learned how to select and preserve high yielding, locally adapted staple grains that produce much higher cereal yields; and were introduced to new income generating activities based on market gardening and fruit tree production.

Farmer Participatory Research (FPR) in Uganda

Location: Iganga District, Uganda

The Ikulwe project in Uganda’s Iganga District demonstrates the efficacy of Farmer Participatory Research (FPR) as an innovative, collaborative development model to address poor crop productivity due to insect pests, crop pathogens, and low soil quality. FPR combines farmers’ needs and experiences with the technical knowledge of scientific researchers to improve crop production and resource conservation capacity.