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Organic Agriculture: African experiences in resilience and sustainability

The studies from different Sub-Saharan countries demonstrate that successful organic farming is about whole farm management, where feeding the soil feeds the plant, where optimal nutrient cycling is achieved through plant and animals management in time (i.e. rotations) and space (i.e. associations) and where quality production goes hand-in-hand with market linkages. Sound agronomy is a recipe that needs to be owned by farmers who have specific cultures and by pastoralists who have specific environments: traditional knowledge and flexible management strategies are therefore key for successful outcomes.

The experiences featured in this publication show that the complexity of plant and animal interactions with the environment can be managed for improved productivity and resilience, and that farming requires enhancing natural processes, rather than substituting them with external inputs. Managing rangelands and croplands through controlled use of local resources starts with social capital, that is by building on traditional community knowledge. Furthermore, the most efficient productivity “tools” for pastoralists and farmers are local deep-rooted perennial grasses and adapted indigenous livestock and diverse crop varieties, as these are readily available, time-tested and suitable to socio-economic realities and environmental conditions.

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Year: 2013
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Geographical coverage: Africa
Content language: English
Author: Raymond Auerbach, Gunnar Rundgren and Nadia El-Hage Scialabba ,
Type: Report
Organization: Natural Resources Management and Environment department (FAO)

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