Improving Food Security for Smallholder Farmers with Roland Bunch

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 percent of the cause of the droughts is that fallowing – a process of allowing the forest to grow for fifteen years or more to replace the soil’s organic matter — isn’t happening. This problem has in turn caused a huge drop in soil organic matter and a resulting lack of rainwater absorption rates. 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.

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 percent of all the carbon the world needs to sequester in order to reach the goals of the Paris Climate Accords.

This talk is part of our Life Saves the Planet Speaker Series in partnership with GBH Forum Network. Learn more about this series here:

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