Closing yield gaps in oil palm production systems in Ghana through Best Management Practices
Rhebergen, Tiemen ; Zingore, Shamie ; Giller, Ken E. ; Frimpong, Charles Adu ; Acheampong, Kwame ; Ohipeni, Francis Tetteh ; Panyin, Edward Kofi ; Zutah, Victor ; Fairhurst, Thomas - \ 2020
European Journal of Agronomy 115 (2020). - ISSN 1161-0301
Agronomy - Crop recovery - Fertiliser - Land sparing - Nutrient management - Plantation - Smallholder - Yield intensification
The area under oil palm in Ghana has expanded but average fruit bunch yields remained low, resulting in large yield gaps. This study assessed the potential for increasing yield with 'Best Management Practices (BMP)' on plantations and smallholder farms in southern Ghana, compared with current standard practices, i.e. reference (REF) yield. We evaluated short-term (≤1 year) yield increases with 'yield taking' (improved crop recovery), and long-term increases (>1 year) with 'yield making' (better agronomy) practices and identified the factors that contributed most to yield improvements. Average fruit bunch yield increases with BMP were 2.1 t ha−1 (+19%) and 4.7 t ha−1 (+89%) with yield taking and 4.7 t ha−1 (+36%) and 7.6 t ha−1 (+76%) with yield making at plantations and smallholder farms respectively. Short-term yield improvements were achieved with more frequent harvesting events and improved field access, which can help finance inputs needed for the yield making phase. Our analysis suggests more balanced palm nutrition could contribute considerably to yield making, particularly on smallholder farms. Improved fertilizer recommendations are therefore essential for sustainable oil palm production in Ghana. Increasing yields to 21.0 t ha−1 on land already planted to oil palm, can increase national fruit bunch production from 2.5 Mt to 6.9 Mt, sparing 600,000 ha of land. However, labour constraints on plantations and lack of access to credit and agricultural inputs on smallholder farms are major hurdles that need to be overcome to increase production.
Potatoes and livelihoods in Chencha, southern Ethiopia
Tadesse, Yenenesh ; Almekinders, Conny J.M. ; Schulte, Rogier P.O. ; Struik, Paul C. - \ 2019
NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 88 (2019). - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 105 - 111.
Agronomy - Asset - Consumption pattern - Food security - Log-linear analysis - Potato - Production - Wealth category
Potato is highly productive crop and can provide a cheap and nutritionally-rich staple food. Its potential as a cash generator and source of food is much under-utilized in many emerging economies. In this paper we study the impact of an intervention that introduced improved potato technologies in Chencha, Ethiopia on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. We collected information through in-depth interviews in order to explore possible pathways of impact on farmers’ livelihoods; and used this information as the basis for designing a household survey. The results show changes in agronomic practices and consumption; these changes were most pronounced among wealthy farmers who participated in the intervention. Farmers used the additional income from potato in different ways: wealthier farmers improved their houses and increased their livestock, whereas poor farmers mainly invested in furniture, cooking utensils, tools and in developing small businesses like selling and buying cereals, milk and weaving products in the local markets. Some wealthy farmers, who did not participate in the project, also derived some indirect benefits from the intervention. This underscores: i) interventions that promote uniform farming technologies in themselves are not always sufficient to improve the livelihoods of poor farmers, and ii) the need to broaden the scope of interventions so as to take into account the resources available to farmers in different wealth categories, and the diversity of strategies that they employ for improving their livelihoods. Our approach allows to understand and describe the different developmental effects of a single technological intervention on the different aspects of farmers’ livelihoods.
Sustainable intensification in agriculture : the richer shade of green. A review
Struik, Paul C. ; Kuijper, Thomas - \ 2017
Agronomy for Sustainable Development 37 (2017)5. - ISSN 1774-0746
Agronomy - Intensification - Resilience - Resource use efficiency - Sustainability - Trait-based agroecology - Values
Agricultural intensification is required to feed the growing and increasingly demanding human population. Intensification is associated with increasing use of resources, applied as efficiently as possible, i.e. with a concurrent increase in both resource use and resource use efficiency. Resource use efficiency has agronomic, environmental, economic, social, trans-generational, and global dimensions. Current industrial agriculture privileges economic resource use efficiency over the other dimensions, claiming that that pathway is necessary to feed the world. Current agronomy and the concept of sustainable intensification are contested. Sustainable intensification needs to include clarity about principles and practices for priority setting, an all-inclusive and explicit cost-benefit analysis, and subsequent weighing of trade-offs, based on scientifically acceptable, shared norms, thus making agriculture “green” again. Here, we review different forms of intensification, different principles and concepts underlying them, as well as the norms and values that are needed to guide the search for effective forms of sustainable and ecological intensification. We also address innovations in research and education required to create the necessary knowledge base. We argue that sustainable intensification should be considered as a process of enquiry and analysis for navigating and sorting out the issues and concerns in agronomy. Sustainable intensification is about societal negotiation, institutional innovation, justice, and adaptive management. We also make a plea for at least two alternative framings of sustainable intensification: one referring to the need for “de-intensification” in high-input systems to become more sustainable and one referring to the need to increase inputs and thereby yields where there are currently large yield (and often also efficiency) gaps. Society needs an agriculture that demonstrates resilience under future change, an agronomy that can cope with the diversity of trade-offs across different stakeholders, and a sustainability that is perceived as a dynamic process based on agreed values and shared knowledge, insight, and wisdom.