Roland Bunch: Improving Food Security of Smallholder Farmers

Improving Food Security of Smallholder Farmers

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Increasingly frequent droughts are destroying food production levels in the more drought-prone half of sub-Saharan Africa. Although most people have attributed this gathering crisis to climate change, about 80% of the cause of the droughts is that fallowing–allowing the forest to grow for fifteen years or more to replace the soil’s organic matter–is on its deathbed. This problem has in turn caused a huge drop in soil organic matter and a resulting fall of rainwater infiltration rates from 60% to between 10 and 20%. The good news, however, is that there exists an extremely simple technology, called “green manure/cover crops,” that can reverse these soil organic matter losses within just a few years, at virtually no cost to the farmers. Even more amazing is that organic matter is 50% carbon. Putting all that organic matter back into the soil sequesters tremendous amounts of carbon. In fact, if all the world’s farmers and ranchers were to sequester as much carbon/acre/year in their soils as tens of thousands of smallholder African farmers are already doing, they would sequester, long-term, over 50% of all the carbon the world needs to sequester in order to reach the goals of the Paris Climate Accords.

Roland Bunch has worked as a consultant in sustainable agricultural development for over 45 NGOs and governments in 50 nation

Presented at Blessed Unrest conference via online, extending across weekends in April & May of 2020

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