Gaining ground deviously
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CTA. 2000. Gaining ground deviously. Spore 87. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/46825
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore87.pdf
Policies for Soil Fertility Management in Africa. C Toulmin and I Scoones. IIED. 1999. 128 pp. ISBN 189982541X GBP 10 E 16.55 IIED Bookshop 3 Endsleigh Street London WC1H 0DD, UK Fax: +44 20 73 88 28 26 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Improving soil fertility management and African farming systems are two sides of the same coin. Countless international development agencies have hurried to sub-Saharan Africa to address the decline in soil fertility. Policies for Soil Fertility Management in Africa reviews the evidence used to define the nature of the soil fertility problem in Africa. The authors show that food production levels have been remarkably robust since the 1960s, while at the same time fertiliser use has increased only slightly. They argue that exploiting natural capital is a rational strategy for farmers. Clearing new land is cheaper than investing in fertiliser or in labour required for low external input farming systems. Farmers opt for soil fertility management strategies only if they face declining returns to land or labour. According to Camilla Toulmin and Ian Scoones, soil management by farmers can be made more efficient if assistance focuses on improving rural livelihoods in general. They cite five forms of 'capital' that are directly linked to livelihoods: natural, physical, financial, human and social capital. Roads can facilitate access to markets, training can enhance extension, and credit supply can lead to investments in livestock. A mix of these factors forms of capital influences the choice to invest in soil fertility management. The book offers an overview of 15 case studies in 12 countries, in which this is shown. The final chapter discusses whether there is a case for public intervention to improve soil fertility and assesses the range of strategies available for encouraging more sustainable soil management practices. Policies for Soil Fertility Management in Africa. C Toulmin and I Scoones. IIED. 1999. 128 pp. ISBN 189982541X GBP 10 E 16.55 IIED Bookshop 3 Endsleigh Street London WC1H 0DD, UK Fax: +44 20 73 88 28 26 Email: email@example.com