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Case Studies

The Machobane Farming System in Lesotho

Location: Lesotho

Declining soil fertility, climatic variability, and outmigration threaten Lesotho’s agricultural productivity. The Machobane Farming System is a simple, low-input technique based on intercropping and localized application of organic manures. Since its re-introduction in the early 1990s, nearly five thousand farmers have integrated this system into their land management, increasing land productivity three-fold compared to traditional monocropping.

The West African Integrated Production and Pest Management Program (IPPM)

Location: Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Senegal

Successful implementation of field-based learning in Farmer Field Schools (FFS) has facilitated ecologically resilient farming systems in West Africa. By creating a knowledge base of locally adapted best practices and revitalizing farmer and agricultural extension networks, the West African Integrated Production and Pest Management Program improves regional food security, while reversing the environmental degradation associated with conventional farming practices.

Women’s Association for Compost and Other Agroecological Practices in Burkina Faso

Location: Southern Burkina Faso

The highly weathered soils of West Africa’s semi-arid Sudanian and Sahelian agro-ecological regions suffer from naturally low levels of organic matter that have been further degraded by agricultural intensification and shifting cropping patterns. Additional organic matter, such as compost, is vital to improving the soil’s water-holding capacity and long-term fertility. In the late 1980s, Pag-La-Yiri(PLY), a Burkina Faso women’s organization, also known by its French name, l’Association des Femmes de Zabré, launched an extension campaign that trained over 8,000 women in compost production and use between 1987 and 2002. Crop yields subsequently doubled.