In the spotlight:
FAO has recently launched a major new initiative intended to produce more food for a growing world population in an environmentally sustainable way. The new approach calls for targeting mainly smallholder farmers in developing countries. Helping low-income farm families economize on cost of production and build healthy agro-ecosystems will enable them to maximize yields and invest the savings in their health and education.
The Save and Grow approach draws partly on conservation agriculture (CA) techniques which do away with or minimize ploughing and tilling, thus preserving soil structure and health. Other techniques developed that are part of the Save and Grow toolkit include precision irrigation, which delivers more crop for the drop, and "precision placement" of fertilizers, which can double the amount of nutrients absorbed by plants.