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Pastoral management systems in eastern Africa have developed over the last three to four thousand years by the indigenous groups of pastoral peoples living in the region, whose livelihoods depend on livestock. Ecuador's Strategy contains four objectives: Sea otter populations are on the rise, but this has been slowed by disease. However, two thirds of that area is covered by snow, mountains or deserts, or has little or no topsoil. The same shifts that happened over the course of a few thousand years during the PETM Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum are now due to happen over just a few centuries, counting from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and the widespread use of fossil fuels. An expanding population means an increase in the consumption of resources. In the Beginning Was the Worm:

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Are the declines slowing down? When consistency in activity meets inconsistency in aggressiveness Benjamin Geffroy, Bardonnet Agnès - Behaviour Reviews 2 The past and the present in decision-making: Järvistö - Ethology Reviews 4 Addressing sampling artefacts in biodiversity analyses: Marcia Barbosa, Marco Pautasso, Diogo Figueiredo - Diversity and Distributions Reviews 1 Seeking a sex-specific Coolidge effect in a simultaneous hermaphrodite Nils Anthes, Johanna Werminghausen, Rolanda Lange - Ethology Reviews 1 A visual method to identify statistically significant changes in species' distributions Richard Stafford, Adam Hart, Anne Goodenough - Ecological Informatics Reviews 6 Geographic variation of herbivory in core and marginal populations of Daphne laureola, are herbivores promoting intraspecific differentiation in non-reproductive traits?

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The wide distribution and adaptability of many of these species across a range of environments and management systems indicates the presence of considerable genetic diversity within the region. This diversity has been exploited to select superior ecotypes for use in many other parts of the world.

Brachiaria species, originating from eastern Africa, are the most widely planted forage grass, with estimates of areas under Brachiaria pastures in Brazil ranging from 30 to 70 million hectares in Fisher and Kerridge, To aid description and study of the rangeland, many attempts have been made to classify the vegetation into types that cover large areas of the region.

Rattray identified 12 types of grassland in eastern Africa, based on the genera of the dominant grass in the grassland. Pratt and Gwynne described six eco-climatic zones based on climate, vegetation and land use. These are described as the afro-alpine area of upland grasslands; the equatorial humid to dry sub-humid area of forests and bushlands Plates 2. A more recent classification, based primarily on the dominant grass, is described as vegetation type or region by Herlocker He described eleven vegetation regions in eastern Africa as Pennisetum mid-grass; Pennisetum giant grass; Panicum-Hyparrhenia tall-grass; Hyparrhenia tall-grass; Hyparrhenia-Hyperthelia tall-grass; Themeda mid-grass; Chrysopogon mid-grass; Leptothrium mid-grass; Cenchrus-Schoenefeldia annual mid-grass; Panicum -annual; Aristida mid- and short-grass region; and Aristida short-grass region.

Themeda triandra Plate 2. The species is very variable and shows wide adaptation to growth in both the highland regions and the lowland savannahs. Themeda, Bothriochloa, Digitaria and Heteropogon mixtures are common in the open dry savannah areas of Tanzania, such as the Serengeti plains.

Short tufted ecotypes of Themeda triandra are found at high altitudes and taller more woody types are found in the open lowland savannahs Rattray, These vary in palatability, but all types quickly lose palatability with age. Plant biomass, quality and species numbers decline in the absence of grazing, are at a peak under moderate to high grazing McNaughton, , , and can decline under very high grazing.

In the Mara region in Kenya, to the north, which is a continuation of the grassland ecosystem of the Serengeti Plains, Themeda makes up about 50 percent of the grass cover in lightly to moderately grazed sites, dropping to percent cover near settlements where Maasai corral their livestock each night Vuorio, Muchiru and Reid, in prep.

The dominant grass species in the drylands of eastern Africa include Aristida, Cenchrus, Chrysopogon and Heteropogon. These are often found growing as an association, the dominant species determined by the environment and soil type. Aristida grassland is widely distributed in the dry pastoral areas of Kenya, Ethiopia and the Sudan.

Although many species are tough and have low palatability, they have wide adaptability to a broad range of environments. Cenchrus grassland is often found associated with Aristida, or in Somalia with Leptothrium Herlocker, , and has higher palatability and better adaptation to hot dry areas with high evapotranspiration. Cenchrus is one of the few grass genera that has been characterized for agronomic attributes. Over ecotypes, mostly collected from Tanzania and Kenya, were characterized for 12 agronomic attributes Pengelly, Hacker and Eagles , The ecotypes showed wide variability in their agronomic traits and were clustered into six groups Pengelly, Hacker and Eagles , Chrysopogon plumulosus is the most widespread species found in the semi desert grasslands and bushlands of the Horn of Africa Herlocker, and is avidly grazed, especially in Somalia and Sudan, where it is burnt to stimulate regrowth for grazing.

Chrysopogon is very sensitive to grazing. Overgrazing results in elimination of the species and a change in species composition to annuals such as Aristida spp. This harsh management regime in low rainfall areas has resulted in reduced stands of this grassland in recent years IBPGR, Herlocker recognized three zones in the Chrysopogon region according to the associated woody vegetation. These include Commiphora - Acacia bushland and Acacia etbaica open woodland, which occur across the region, and the Acacia bussei open woodland in Somalia and Ethiopia.

He also recognized two subregions: Rattray recognized the Chloris areas as a vegetation type in its own right, and included the Sporobolus as an associated grass in a Chrysopogon vegetation type in very dry semi-desert areas of Somalia and Ethiopia. Although not a vegetation type recognized by Herlocker , Heteropogon grassland is found in open woodland or grassland in the semi -arid and arid rangelands in Somalia Box, , Kenya and Ethiopia.

It is represented mostly by H. It is a persistent species, which is indigenous to the region, spreads rapidly through seed and grows in lowland or middle altitudes with poor, stony, well drained soils. It is commonly found with annual species of Aristida and Digitaria Rattray, The species does not have good palatability and is only useful when young.

Chloris roxburghiana is a dominant species in dryland areas of Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Somalia and Uganda, and is usually found growing in association with Chrysopogon aucheri and Cenchrus ciliaris in Commiphora and Acacia woodland Rattray, Despite its wide distribution, Herlocker treats this vegetation type as a subtype of the Chrysopogon mid-grass region. Chloris roxburghiana is widespread throughout the entire region and is an important species for livestock and wildlife.

This species contributes up to 50 percent of the diet of wild herbivores in eastern Kenya IBPGR, but is in danger of disappearing due to overgrazing and land degradation [2]. The species is very variable. A recent study using random amplified polymorphic DNA RAPD markers to study diversity among four populations from ecologically distinct sites in eastern Kenya showed significant variation among the populations W.

Chloris gayana is an important native species and a component of the Hyparrhenia type of grassland Rattray, in open steppe and wooded grassland vegetation or flooded valleys in the higher rainfall areas of Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Somalia and Uganda.

Herlocker considers this vegetation type part of the Hyparrhenia-Hyperthelia tall-grass region of miombo woodland. The miombo woodland is an important vegetation type covering the southern two thirds of Tanzania. Chloris gayana , or Rhodes grass, is not an important grass ecologically in the vegetation of the region, but is important commercially as a forage grass.

It shows wide adaptability with high palatability, and is a fast-growing, persistent, frost- and drought -tolerant species valued for grazing Skerman and Riveros, Commercial cultivars of Rhodes grass have been developed from genotypes collected in Kenya and grown in the region since the s Boonman, An analysis of genetic diversity in Chloris gayana using amplified fragment length polymorphisms AFLPs revealed considerable variation between the diploid and tetraploid cultivars, with genetic similarity ranging between 66 and 89 percent in the diploids and 63 and 87 percent in the tetraploids Ubi, Komatsu and Fujimori, Hyparrhenia is one of the most widespread grassland types in eastern Africa, and this grassland region, which is characterized by woodlands and wooded grasslands dominated by H.

Several other species of Hyparrhenia are found in the region, of which the most important are H. These tough perennial grasses are usually found growing in combination with other grasses in woodland or open grassland, from the lowland to mid-altitude areas. They are fast growing, and grazed while young, but become tough and unpalatable as they mature and lose nutritive value Skerman and Riveros, Crude protein levels of H.

After flowering, these grasses are much valued and used as thatching for traditional rural housing, and mature grasses have commercial value, being sold as standing grass to be cut for roofing in some rural areas. This and burning ensure young regrowth with higher value for grazing in many areas. Grazing is important to encourage growth of other more palatable and valuable forage grasses, such as Cynodon dactylon , Panicum maximum and Setaria sphacelata Herlocker, Loudetia species are often found mixed with Hyparrhenia spp.

They provide late-season grazing for livestock Rattray, but have low palatability Skerman and Riveros, Although Herlocker did not consider this a vegetation type per se , and Rattray only considered this as a grassland type for Uganda, Loudetia is widely distributed in rangeland ecosystems in Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia, but is never the dominant species.

The most common species in the region is Loudetia simplex, which shows considerable variability in morphology in Ethiopia Phillips, However, the genus has not been widely studied due to its low economic importance.

The highland areas of eastern Africa cover about 80 million hectares of Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. Exotheca abyssinica grassland is common on poor waterlogged soils in high altitude areas of eastern Africa, especially on the seasonally waterlogged vertisols, of which there are This species is closely related to Hyparrhenia and is often found growing in association with Themeda triandra.

Setaria incrassata and S. It is closely related to S. Pennisetum grassland areas can be classified as two types: Although belonging to the same genus, these species are morphologically and ecotypically very distinct, and have very different distribution and ecological niches.

Both species are indigenous to eastern Africa, with high economic importance, and are cultivated in many other parts of the world. Its common name, Kikuyu grass, derives from the highlands of Kenya, where it is abundant, being named after the Kikuyu ethnic group of central Kenya. It shows wide adaptability to drought, waterlogging and occasional frosts Skerman and Riveros, It is highly digestible, palatable, persistent and withstands severe defoliation and grazing.

It is the dominant species in natural pastures in many parts of the eastern Africa n highlands. It is an invasive secondary species, which can quickly colonize disturbed soil in cropping areas and fallow land, spreading by seeds or stolons, and may become a serious weed in cropland Boonman, It shows wide variability, with three distinct ecotypes classified on leaf width and length, stolon size and floral structure Skerman and Riveros, Several ecotypes have been selected as commercial cultivars, which have been widely introduced into tropical highland and subtropical areas.

It is now widely grown outside its native distribution and is commonly cultivated in the Americas. Studies in the USA using starch gel electrophoresis to describe the distribution of genetic variation within and among introduced populations found a relatively high proportion of polymorphic loci across populations, indicating fixed heterozygosity due to polyploidy Wilen et al.

The highland grazing areas of P. These two grasses are frequent in overgrazed pastures in the highlands and mid-altitudes in the Rift Valley, but are not palatable Sisay and Baars, and are important for traditional basket making. Cattle avoid these grasses, which have the potential to become major weeds on upland pastures unless collected for basket making. Basket making is an important activity and source of income for rural women and collection of these weedy grasses also maintains the quality of the communal grazing areas and grasslands in the highlands.

Pennisetum purpureum is a tall, erect, vigorous perennial species that grows in damp grasslands and forest areas up to 2 m in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Sudan.

Herlocker recognized this as a vegetation region in Kenya and Uganda, around the shores of Lake Victoria. Pennisetum purpureum is widely distributed through sub-Saharan Africa and is commonly called elephant grass or Napier grass, named after Colonel Napier of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, who promoted its use at the start of the century.

Elephant grass is palatable when young and leafy. It is fast growing and should be cut often to avoid its becoming tough and unpalatable with a high proportion of stem. Due to its importance in the region, considerable research has been done on elephant grass, including studies on its diversity. Tcacenco and Lance studied 89 morphological characters on 9 genotypes of elephant grass to determine which characters were most useful for description of the variation in the species, and concluded that variation existed from plant to plant, even within the same accession.

A larger collection of 53 accessions was characterized for 20 morphological and 8 agronomic characters Van de Wouw, Hanson and Leuthi , Again the germplasm was found to be very variable, but accessions could be clustered into six groups with similar morphology.

More recently, molecular techniques using RAPD markers were applied to study the genetic diversity in the same collection, and also among farm clones in Kenya Lowe et al. This technique was able to separate out hybrids between P. Despite being clonally propagated, genetic diversity Magguran, across all accessions was found to be fairly high, with a Shannon's diversity index of 0.

Panicum maximum is another tall, fast growing species that is often found associated with Pennisetum in eastern Africa n grasslands or associated with Cenchrus and Bothriochloa in Acacia woodland in the dry savannah areas Rattray, Herlocker recognized the Panicum-Hyparrhenia region along the coast northwards from Tanzania, through Kenya into Somalia.

Panicum maximum is more widely distributed in Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania and is typical of shady places in the foothills of mountain ranges up to 2 m.

There is a wide variation in plant habit, robustness of culms and pubescence Phillips, , and ecotypes with good agronomic characters have been selected as commercial cultivars. A collection of ecotypes of P. Twenty-one morphological descriptors were found to discriminate among accessions and were used to cluster the collection.

Considerable variation was found among the ecotypes and some with wide adaptation were selected for establishment of a breeding programme. Other locally well -adapted ecotypes are also being developed for use within the region of adaptation.

Most dry grasslands of eastern Africa are characterized by frequent droughts and high levels of risk of production for pastoral peoples Little, []. Livestock are one of the few ways to convert sunlight into nutritious food in these drylands wildlife are also important. Pastoralists traditionally manage risk by moving their livestock on a daily and seasonal basis to follow changes in the quality and quantity of pasture IFAD, Cattle, camels, sheep, goats and donkeys are the main livestock species and are kept by the pastoralists for subsistence for their milk, meat and traction.

Most herds are mixed as a means of adaptation to a changing environment, to supply food for the family and to act as a cash reserve in times of shortage, during droughts or disease-pandemics Niamir, Although sale of livestock is a major source of income for pastoralists today, widespread sale or commoditization of livestock only became common in the last century, with colonialism Hodgson, Settled crop-livestock farmers are particularly oriented toward marketing: Herds are managed in a way that minimizes sales because of the traditional social and economic functions of livestock other than income generation Coppock, Like many other pastoral areas, cattle are also of particular significance in the Borana area of Ethiopia as a symbol of wealth and prestige, and owners are reluctant to sell.

Sheep and goats are usually sold to raise cash for household needs. Although marketing of livestock products milk, meat, hides in pastoral systems is a relatively new phenomenon, pastoral peoples who live near markets and roads are increasingly selling products.

Traditionally, herders consume a large part of the milk produced; any surplus is shared with neighbours, exchanged in barter or sold in urban areas.

In Somalia, a commercial milk chain through a cooperative has been established by the pastoralists for marketing camel milk in Mogadishu as a source of income to buy sugar, clothes and medicines Herren, An EU-funded project, Strengthening food security through decentralized cooperation, active from to , also supported establishment of a small processing plant for pasteurizing camel milk and marketing the resulting products in suitable packaging for the Somali market EC, The drought had a considerable effect on camel calving intervals and milk sales.

In some parts of Somalia, there was virtually no income from milk sales following the drought. Milk formerly provided approximately 40 percent of a household's income and the return on livestock sales, which typically provide an additional 40 percent of income, was halved after the drought FSAU, Maasai in Kenya and Tanzania living close to main roads or towns sell fresh milk, butter or fermented milk.

The Borana in southern Ethiopia sour cow's milk and process it into butter for sale in local markets or for transport to large cities Holden and Coppock, Distance to market, season and wealth of the household which is directly related to the number of livestock owned influence marketing of dairy products in the southern rangelands of Ethiopia Coppock, Most of the extensive grasslands in the region are either under the control of the government and designated as wildlife and conservation areas for national parks about 10 percent of the land area or are open access or common property resources.

Access to these resources and the conditions under which they can be used are under national laws, but frequently traditional land use rights are granted by local communities. Traditionally, long-term sustainability of these rangelands has been ensured by agreed management norms, but these are increasingly breaking down as lands privatize, crop farmers migrate to pastoral areas and human needs grow.

Governments are also reducing support to pastoral peoples, who are often marginalized in national affairs IFAD, Options for income generation and alternative land uses for extensive grasslands for pastoralists are limited and can lead to overutilization and land degradation if none of the users take responsibility for the management and sustainability of the system.

Common property and traditional access regimes with sustainable range management institutions and resource sharing arrangements were practiced in the region until the colonial era IFAD, and continue in some areas today.

These were and are based on a transhumance grazing system developed over many years to exploit the ecological heterogeneity and make optimal use of the scarce resources of grazing and water throughout the year.

These traditional management practices include grazing rotation strategies and establishment of grazing preserves for the dry season. Drought is the most serious challenge facing pastoralists in the region and access to land and water are often the cause of conflict between pastoralists, ranchers and crop-livestock farmers Mkutu, Traditional systems of access to water are common in most countries in the region.

The pastoralists of northern Somalia and southern Ethiopia also have a complex and well -regulated system of well management to regulate water use, as well as traditional informal and formal social controls on use of common property and open property resources to ensure sustainable use of the grassland and water resources Niamir, This is exemplified by herder response to drought and conflict in southern Somalia, where herders move camels and cattle great distances to good pastures in times of drought, while they graze small stock closer to home Little, [].

Over the last century, these indigenous range management institutions have been weakened by demographic, political and social change in the region. The greatest threat to the traditional pastoralist system comes from the rapid population growth of the last twenty years and conversion of communal grassland to open access state property or private land, which has led to more grassland being used for smallholder crop-livestock farming.

Policies have constrained the movement of pastoralists and promoted sedentarization and many permanent settlements have been established in the rangelands; with many pastoralists choosing to shift their production systems to include crop-livestock farming Galaty, ; Campbell et al. Kajiado District, Kenya, land use conflict reflects ongoing competition over access to scarce land and water resources between herders, farmers and wildlife - competition that has intensified strongly over the last 40 years, after the district became open to outside migrants.

Today, farming extends into the wetter margins of the rangelands, along rivers and around swamps. This has reduced the area available for grazing and the ease of access to water for both domestic stock and wildlife. Political alliances have emerged among land managers to gain or maintain control of critical land and water resources and to influence policy on agriculture, wildlife and tourism and land tenure Campbell et al. Another well -documented example of this is from the Beja pastoralists in northeastern Sudan, who, as a result of drought, are changing their nomadic way of life as camel and smallstock herders to more settled, smallholder farming and rearing of small ruminants.

Like other pastoralists in the region, they find that small ruminants are easy to manage near the homestead, cost less, are more easily sold and breed more quickly than camels Pantuliano, Government policies have supported cropping and reduction of communal grazing land and, more recently, mobility patterns and access to key resources have been constrained by conflict and civil insecurity.

Many Beja now move very little or not at all, reducing their capacity to make effective use of the rangeland from the perspective of livestock production.

As Beja settle, vegetation around settlements has changed, with the disappearance of seven palatable species and an increase in unpalatable species Pantuliano, These changes are typical of those faced by pastoralists across the region. Even so, many families or parts of families still send the younger family members for transhumance in the dry season while the women and older family members remain on the farm to take care of the crops and smallstock. The national land tenure systems of the region are unrelated to the traditional land tenure and access regimes of the pastoralist groups.

In Ethiopia, the Sudan and Somalia, all land is state owned and cropping land can be leased from or allocated by the government. In Somalia, land tenure is under a mixture of traditional and modern legal systems Amadi, The Land Reform Act of Somalia gave land for state enterprises and mechanized agriculture Unruh, ; pastoralists only had rights as part of government-sponsored cooperatives and associations, and were forced to move from their traditional lands to more marginal lands with open access.

All land belonged to the state and 50year leases were provided to users, although many enclosures were not legally leased and ownership was respected by local communities under traditional systems Amadi, At the same time, it raises soil fertility through: Application of purchased phosphate or lime may also have to be part of the fertility management strategy.

Conservation Agriculture is a farming approach which has the main aim of making more efficient use of the soil, water and biological resources and natural processes through improved soil-water-plant nutrient management. The Better Land Husbandry approach is fully in line with, and encompasses, the principles of Conservation Agriculture. Conservation Agriculture contributes to environmental conservation as well as to enhanced and sustained agricultural productivity.

The key principles of Conservation Agriculture are ensuring the recycling and restoration of soil nutrients and organic matter and optimal use of rainfall through retention and better use of biomass, moisture and nutrients. One key aspect is retaining, where possible, a permanent soil cover which implies zero or minimum tillage and often entails the use of green manure crops. In extreme arid and semiarid environments this may be reduced to maintaining below-ground root systems, as the above-ground biomass may be totally desiccated and lost.

As a result of soil cover by vegetation and residues, soil erosion and water loss through runoff are eliminated or greatly reduced, crop production is more reliable and less vulnerable to climatic vagaries and higher yields can be obtained. Conservation Agriculture requires systematic interplanting and cropping sequences. Not only does it improve and especially stabilise yields in risky environments, it also reduces production costs, including costs of farm labour and farm power, due to reduction or elimination of tillage and, once established, of weeding requirements.

Conservation Agriculture is extensively practised in Brazil through its spontaneous adoption and adaptation to suit different farm contexts and farming systems. Problems of soil erosion - and, in drier areas, vulnerability to drought - have decreased significantly and farm output has increased leading to improved farmers' welfare and security. The African Conservation Tillage Network is contributing to its development and expansion in different environments.

To address pest problems without recourse to costly and environmentally damaging pesticides, the main option is to apply IPM or the recently-demonstrated push-pull methods 24 , with a special emphasis on weed especially striga control - for which rotations and phosphate application are important ingredients - combined with use of disease-resistant varieties and improved crop storage e.

In areas with low population density and where there are no restrictive tenure practices in place, labour rather than land becomes the key constraint. This situation strengthens interest in such technologies as zero tillage with draft animal power and conservation farming to allow dry season land preparation when labour demand is slack. There is also scope for integration of soybean into the rotation, and for promoting farmer-based multiplication of seeds and planting materials. Ultimately, sustainable land management and soil nutrient capitalisation depend upon secure and equitable access to resources, and especially land and water.

Various models to promote secure access to land by poor farmers have been promoted in the region, often with disappointing results. Among the novel tenure models being tested, one community-based model that is dependent upon customary tenure and community control is thought to hold particular promise see Box 2.

Problems related to land rights and tenure are common across Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to expanding access to credit and limiting existing disputes, developing effective tenure systems can have a profound impact on the ability of communities to enter into productive partnership arrangements and to intensify production. A programme initiated in the mids in Mozambique has developed new policy and legal measures for smallholders, under which existing land rights are secured and new investment into rural areas is promoted.

These rights are identical to those which would be obtained by private investors seeking land through a formal request to the State still the owner of all land under the present Constitution. The use of the farming systems approach has been critical in developing a new legal framework that protects all resources and not just areas physically occupied and presently under cultivation.

The new framework also offers a legal mechanism to support farm communities in reaching mutually advantageous joint-venture arrangements with agri-business investors. This access is achieved through consultation with local people and agreements over land use, joint ventures, employment and other concrete resources that bring benefits to both the community and the investor.

Although the new policies and legislation are recently established, there are already clear indications that local communities are gaining a clearer understanding of both their land rights and the real value and potential of their resources. Farming systems are not only strengthened, but are permitted to adapt to provide new incomes and employment sources for local people. This relatively low-cost approach could provide a key input to investment support programmes throughout the African continent where similar land and farming systems problems are found.

For areas of high density, the emphasis shifts towards maximising returns to land, particularly through converting amply available labour into increased output. In such areas, it is important to increase the amount of land available for cultivation each year e. It is also important, to the extent that markets allow, to encourage a shift out of maize and other low-value crops towards high-value crops such as beans, sunflower, tobacco, vegetables, perennials and flowers.

Diversification could also involve development of low-lying areas for irrigated or rainfed vegetable production, introduction of improved sunflower varieties and manual oilseed presses, promotion of intensive dairying and small-scale pig and poultry production, as well as aquaculture for urban markets.

Low maize prices can also be addressed by the promotion of off-farm activities with strong linkages to agriculture. Farmers' problems of inadequate access to input supply, credit and marketing services can be minimised by promoting group activities such as bulk buying, rotational savings or joint marketing, as well as through promotion of sustainable rural micro-finance institutions capable of meeting farmers' seasonal credit needs.

Problems of access to good quality open-pollinated seeds can be addressed by promoting farmer-based seed multiplication see Box 2. The seed sector in Zambia faces problems common to other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Firstly, the Ministry of Agriculture Food and Fisheries MAFF , which develops the majority of new crop varieties, does not have adequate resources to meet the costs of bulking and distributing seeds of such varieties.

Secondly, the private sector is not keen to invest in the types of crops preferred by smallholders, as most retain seed from season to season, limiting future sales. The main agricultural activity of CARE's Livingstone Food Security Project has been the introduction of drought tolerant varieties of a number of crops - including varieties of maize, sorghum and cowpea - through a community-based seed bulking and distribution scheme.

Related crops and soils agronomy information, seed handling and post harvest storage topics have been included in the extension messages shared with farmers. In the pilot phase farmers participated, virtually on an individual basis. For the season, a group approach was introduced and over farmers participated. A further expansion of the scheme in increased the number of participating farmers to , and over by season.

The project has therefore allowed access to good quality seed of new, early maturing varieties to a fairly large number of farmers in a relatively short time. The scheme's rapid expansion has been aided by two factors: The availability of information to small farmers will be a critical factor in diversification.

The adoption of conservation farming and IPM will require educational rather than prescriptive approaches to extension. Each farmer must be given the means to judge which avenues for livelihood improvement best match his or her resource endowment. Thus, investment in farmer training, including the revitalisation of farmer training institutes and complementary village and field level education, is indicated.

Tree Crop Farming System. The backbone of this farming system is tree crop production, notably cocoa, robusta coffee, oil palm and rubber. Food crops are often interplanted between tree crops. Roots and tubers cassava, yam and cocoyam are the main staples; tree crops and off-farm activities are the main source of cash. Livestock keeping is limited by tsetse infestation in many areas and so land preparation is by hand.

The main animal species are pigs and poultry. Fish farming is popular in some areas. Off-farm activities are relatively well developed. A typical farm household within this system is outlined in Box 2. Industrial tree crops were originally established by indigenous farmers through a process of annual clearance.

Each year a household would clear from the forest as much land as it could manage with family labour e. However, after a year or two, family labour would not be sufficient to manage both the newly cleared land and the care of the plots established during previous years. Farmers addressed the problem by contracting the care of their second and third year coffee gardens to immigrant farmers from the savannah zone in exchange for the right to interplant food crops among the trees.

Once the tree canopy closed and certain types of food crops could no longer be successfully grown underneath them, the tree crops began bearing enough coffee to pay for hired labour. The current practices of commercial outgrower schemes are often in sharp contrast to the indigenous system. Commercial schemes usually set a minimum plot size e. The lack of staggered planting also increases vulnerability to pest and disease attacks. It is a major reason why many farmers linked to estate schemes meet with difficulties.

The main trends affecting the Tree Crop System relate to: The result has been increasing poverty and growing social conflict between tree crop owners and migrant workers - especially in Côte d'Ivoire. Strong international competition has led to depressed producer prices and a declining market share for most industrial tree crops grown in the region.

The consequent low profitability has resulted in neglect of some tree crops, as well as decreased demand for hired labour on commercial estates. In some cases, low farmgate prices are also due to high taxation of export crops and the low share of export price accruing to farmers.

Use of mineral fertiliser and agro-chemicals is declining due to high prices, low profitability and lack of credit. Smallholder services have broken down as a consequence of: The private sector has been reluctant to advance inputs to outgrowers on credit and to deduct their cost from the marketed product.

With the dismantling of parastatal commodity boards, tree crop extension was handed over to public extension services. The latter have, however, been severely downsized due to inability of governments to sustain their cost. Public extension services are currently attempting to transfer industrial crop extension to private commodity producer groups. A typical tree crop farming household has five ha of land, all of which is under coffee in various stages of maturity. Food crops such as cassava, cocoyam and cereals are interplanted between the immature trees.

It has a multi-storied homestead garden with fruit trees and vegetables. The wife owns about 20 scavenging chickens. The young sons each own a goat or two and the wife raises a couple of her own. The husband might have a shop or business. An occasional farmer has a fishpond. The household is generally food self-sufficient and earns a per capita income well above the poverty line. A typical poor migrant worker in this farming system has a wife and family back in the savannah, who still work for the man's father.

The family feeds itself for 4 to 6 months a year from their own production and addresses its food and income deficit by migration. The income from tending tree crops and growing food between the immature trees is insufficient to boost the household income above the poverty line.

As a result of policy reform, public sector agricultural research institutes are withdrawing from research on export crops and leaving this to the private sector.

However, private commodity research focuses only on export commodities. It does not consider other parts of the tree crop based farming and livelihood systems; hence the current failure to address farmers' problems, concerned with food crops and soil fertility. The Tree Crop System was once a key source of agricultural exports for a number of countries in West and Central Africa. Despite the problems referred to above, it is a high potential system and its growth prospects in the medium term are sound.

The main household strategies for reduction of poverty are intensification of both tree crops and associated crops and increase in off-farm income. Both diversification - including processing and grading - and increased farm size, will also contribute to better incomes.

The strategic focus for development lies in the improvement of support services, particularly those related to farm inputs and export marketing. To be effective, such improvements will need to be tailored to the particular needs of different groups of farmers. Options for dealing with deteriorating terms of trade for traditional export commodities include: The breakdown of input supply, credit and marketing services can be addressed by assisting smallholder tree crop growers to form commodity producer groups and by building their capacity to assume responsibility for input supply and marketing services.

Another complementary strategy is to create self-sustaining, savings-based micro-finance institutions capable of meeting the needs of tree crop growers for seasonal production loans.

Care should be taken to involve women in these micro-finance groups. However, because micro-finance institutions cannot afford to lend for long-term uses, long-term credit or one-time matching grants for tree crop establishment and replanting may also be needed.

In order to underpin intensification, agricultural research needs to be more focused on priority production problems of smallholders, and to involve producers in all stages of research.

In order to reduce hunger, technology development should embrace food crops production, as well as tree crops - and involve women in the technology design, testing and dissemination. Technologies for sustainable tree-crop-soil management, building on agro-forestry principles, should be developed.

Extension services can be made more relevant by strengthening smallholder producer associations to enable them to articulate priority problems and, if external support were available, to provide advisory services directly by contracting NGOs.

The need to boost support services - including marketing - underlines the importance of price, product quality and other market-related information. These services could be organised through forming partnerships between private sector and farmers' organisations; the main challenge is to ensure the relevance and financial viability of the information services that are created.

For the purposes of this analysis, the Irrigated Farming System includes large-scale schemes covering nearly 2 million ha of equipped area which supports an agricultural population of almost 7 million see Box 2. These include centrally managed, and mechanised schemes such as the Gezira scheme, and the larger farmer-managed schemes such as traditional riverine and flood-recession based cropping that is found in small pockets along major rivers, and dugwell-based irrigation in West African fadamas wetlands.

Sahelian oases, which individually tend to cover limited areas, are included under the Sparse Arid Farming System. Similarly, small-scale irrigation schemes and water harvesting are considered under other farming systems. Projections indicate that, in the next 30 years, production from irrigated land in the region could increase substantially, with most of the increase coming from yield increases on existing irrigated land.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, public sector irrigation schemes have generally been expensive to construct and maintain and their performance has been disappointing.

Not only have production increases been lower than anticipated, but systems have often been unsustainable, due to low output prices and high operation and maintenance costs. Examples include the Gezira scheme in the Sudan see Box 2. Increasingly, economic liberalisation has led governments to attempt to restructure parastatal schemes on a commercial basis, or to hand over management to farmers in an effort to lower operation and maintenance costs.

This strategy has met with success only in the case of the Office du Niger. The remaining options are to redesign it as a series of smaller, more manageable schemes, or to find a private company willing to operate it on a commercial basis. However, although the region has the lowest proportion of its cropped area under irrigation in the developing world, construction of new irrigation schemes is often more expensive than elsewhere and therefore difficult to justify.

For new irrigation to be economically viable, farmers have to be able to grow and market high-value crops such as vegetables, and this is only feasible in proximity to markets. Hence, much of the effort in recent decades has concentrated on rehabilitation of existing schemes.

In latter years, more attention has been given to ensuring sustainability through the organisation of farmer water users' groups for operation and maintenance. However, rehabilitation of existing schemes is often beyond farmers' economic means and even if farmers can meet recurrent operating costs, rehabilitation still depends heavily on donor financing. Experience with traditional farmer-constructed and farmer-managed systems has been quite positive.

For instance, recent experience in Mali indicates that, when an enabling environment for smallholder development is in place, spontaneous development will occur through reinvestment of farmers' savings. It is reported that over ha were developed spontaneously outside the Office du Niger on farmers' initiative - largely financed by the savings of migrant workers.

Spontaneous growth of small-scale irrigation is also reported in Guinea-Bissau in the balanta wetland rice system in the coastal plain and in central Tanzania e.

During coming decades, it is expected that most irrigation development will take the form of SSFMI or individual initiatives. The expansion of the latter depends critically on market-driven diversification of smallholder farming systems.

Three main crops have traditionally been grown - sorghum, cotton and groundnuts. Cultivation was totally organised by the irrigation authority and the main responsibilities of the tenant farmers were to maintain bunds and control water distribution within their fields, while managing all aspects of groundnut production.

As the introduction of mechanical cotton harvesting was not successful, farmers were also responsible for organising manual picking, which involves hiring labour. Production has increasingly suffered from water shortages due to: In , scheme operation was profoundly affected by economic liberalisation, withdrawal of the public sector from direct financing of agriculture, elimination of subsidies on crop production inputs and devolution of support services to the private sector.

The prices of inputs to farmers rose sharply, especially for imported chemicals, but without a corresponding increase in product prices. Moreover, the scheme was expected to be self-supporting and to operate on a commercial basis. These policy changes have not succeeded, because farmers were ill-prepared, the Corporations were not oriented to operating as independent businesses, and the schemes were generally dilapidated and required significant rehabilitation of irrigation works.

As a result, cropping areas and general level of operations have declined and some of the smaller schemes have been abandoned. Substantial financial deficits have developed and the deterioration of operations has accelerated.

Shortage of water and lack of financial resources have led to poor incentives for production and reduced farm and scheme efficiency.

Sound production practices are being neglected and irrigation water is being wasted. The Government has, in , embarked on a rehabilitation programme - which includes mechanisms to involve farmers in land and water management - intended to reverse the declining trends and restore production. The Thematic Evaluation of the IFAD Special Programme for Africa concluded that the main problem in farmer-managed irrigation within the region is not the technologies employed but the lack of adequate social organization and cohesion.

Units dealing with farmer participation and Water User Associations WUAs were under-funded and this held back the pace of development. The Irrigated Farming System is a high potential system, with ample scope for expansion in the region. Whilst the principal contribution of large-scale schemes is to national food security and agricultural growth, smaller schemes confer the added benefit of livelihood security and poverty reduction.

The main household strategies to escape poverty in this system are intensification of existing patterns of production, diversification to higher value products and expanded farm size. An important consideration is to reduce risks of drought-induced crop failure by promoting, where feasible and environmentally compatible, extension of the irrigated or water harvesting area through low-cost techniques - such as flood recession and run of river - that build on indigenous technical knowledge.

Where markets exist, the reduction of risk often encourages higher input use and intensification. Assisting farmers to diversify into higher-value crops and to establish market linkages for inputs and outputs can address the low profitability of existing schemes. The improvement of product grading and packaging is also needed, as is support for small-scale agro-processing of perishable products.

It will also be important to identify niche markets - for instance those for biologically grown produce. Farmer-managed schemes and traditional irrigation should have priority because of their greater sustainability. Policies that give priority to small-scale farmer-built and managed schemes - especially for high-value horticulture crops - should be encouraged.

The promotion of farmer-based seed multiplication should also be accorded high priority in connection with both intensification and diversification efforts.

Further priority areas include: For large, centrally-managed schemes, interventions should be supported by a clear policy for sustainable agricultural production, free of controls over production choices. Improvement measures would include: In the short term, the priority is to rehabilitate,re-equip and modernise irrigation and drainage systems. In the long term, if technically feasible, priority should be given to sub-dividing larger schemes into smaller units, to make it easier for scheme farmers to take over their management.

Although this system shares some characteristics with the Maize Mixed System such as to growing days with, in some areas, mono-modal rainfall. It has, however, certain characteristics that set it apart: Although cereals such as maize, sorghum and millet are important in the system, in the absence of animal traction, root crops such as yams and cassava are more important than cereals.

A wider range of crops is grown and marketed, and intercropping is far more significant see Box 2. The Guinea savannah represents one of the major under-utilised resources in the region. Cultivated land is abundant and tends to be relatively under-utilised due to a combination of low population density, poor communications and labour shortages in the absence of animal traction.

Although land is sufficiently abundant to permit substantial fallow periods in the crop rotation, there are already signs of fertility decline and an increasing acidity level in some soils; sometimes associated with prolonged use of inorganic fertilisers without attention to maintaining organic matter levels.

In the northern part of the area, prolonged use of mechanisation for land preparation has resulted in loss of soil structure and organic matter. In the s and early s, smallholder maize and cotton expanded rapidly at the expense of sorghum and root crops - especially in the more northern, drier part of the Guinea savannah - as a result of the diffusion of improved early-maturing maize varieties.

This expansion was facilitated by government policies aimed at promotion of national food self-sufficiency, with the support of fertiliser subsidies, seasonal production credit and parastatal marketing support. In the long run, these policies were unsustainable, because their cost to governments was high and their impact on production was disappointing.

On the other hand, currency devaluation also reduced urban demand for imported cereals and increased demand for traditional foods such as yams and cassava.

This factor led to reversal of the earlier cropping pattern changes, with an expansion of the area under root crops at the expense of maize. However, since root crop production was highly elastic, as supply increased producer prices levelled off. Hence the impact of devaluation on the incomes of food crop growers has been rather modest. Smallholder cotton also lost some of its attraction with the dismantling of parastatal programmes that supplied small farmers with seeds, fertiliser and chemicals at the beginning of the season and then deducted their cost from the marketed product.

Although private ginneries took over processing, most were reluctant to advance inputs to small farmers on credit and then try to recover the cost at the end of the season.

In the absence of credit, and with sharply rising fertiliser prices and stagnant or falling cotton prices, farmers found it risky to buy fertiliser and agro-chemicals. Hence, productivity declined as a consequence of reduced fertiliser application, plus pest and disease flare-ups. The coming three decades may well witness the development of infrastructure, access to markets and consequent intensification and diversification.

Livestock populations are likely to expand, especially in the southern fringes of the farming system, as tsetse pressure is reduced.

Whilst land has been plentiful up to the present time, local population growth and in-migration will increase future pressure on land resources. In the absence of corrective measures, soil fertility problems can be expected - as in other more densely settled farming systems.

A typical household would farm two ha by hand cultivation and would grow maize, sorghum, cassava, yams, cotton, and minor crops such as groundnuts, pigeon pea, cowpea, beans, sweet potato and squash, with use of organic manure animal night corrals are periodically moved to selectively manure fields. A substantial part of the manure is provided by Fulani herd which pass through the area in order to graze on crop stubble. Often the farm household does not own cattle, but would keep a few chickens and goats.

In cotton growing areas, minimal doses of purchased fertiliser and pesticides would be used, in spite of their high cost. But little or no mineral fertiliser would be used on maize or other food crops. Some hired labour might be used on cotton but none on food crops. The household would be food self-sufficient and have a surplus for sale - some of which would rot due to perishability and poor market access.

The main sources of cash would be cotton, yams, cassava and vegetables. A typical poor household would not grow cotton due to lack of cash for inputs and would meet its food deficit during the rainy hungry season by working for meals in other farmers' fields.

During the dry season the husband would migrate to the forest zone to do casual labour for industrial tree crop farmers. This farming system - because of its relatively low population density and the abundance of cultivated land that could be brought under cultivation - is considered to be one with the highest agricultural growth potential in Africa.

It has ample opportunity for growth through expansion of the cropped area as well as through higher yields per ha see Box 2. In addition, there is potential for poverty reduction through - in order of importance - the following household strategies: Some improvement in livelihoods will also be derived from off-farm income.

The growing period ranges from about days near the border with the Sahel to about days in the southern part. Average annual rainfall in the area varies from mm in the north to mm in the south. The farming system still has much land that is only used extensively, particularly at a distance from roads.

The more easily accessible land is largely used for annual crops - generally with low external inputs - and produces low yields.

Crops include maize and sorghum, millets in the northern part, cotton, cassava, soybean and cowpea; with yam near the southern border, and wetland rice in parts of the river plains and valley areas. Infrastructure is generally poorly developed and maintained. Historically, development in this area has suffered from two major health constraints: Control efforts related to the OCP have freed up an estimated 25 million ha of cultivated land for agricultural development.

However, tsetse-transmitted African Animal Trypanosomosis is still a significant constraint to agricultural development. Farm households in this system can achieve significant improvements in farm productivity, and in their economic and nutritional status, through modifying their soil, crop and livestock management. The availability of farm power, particularly during planting operations, would become critical to any attempt to intensify cropping.

Initially, the utilisation of draft animal power is also a key factor in the integration of livestock and crop agriculture. Later, crop-livestock integration will evolve as mechanisation is introduced. The need for farm power depends on the degree of adoption of conservation agriculture. Major additional gains should be available from the implementation of simple, affordable systems for drip irrigation. The recent development of high-yielding, precocious oil palm clones adapted to certain environments outside their traditional range, has provided an opportunity for their introduction in parts of the Guinea savannah zone - specifically in valleys and river plains.

The development of tropical soybean varieties has now made the commercial production of soybeans possible in such areas. In addition, some areas in West Africa with access to a low cost transportation may become competitive suppliers of cassava chips to European feed markets. In conclusion, there is a great potential for the intensification of this farming system, the realisation of which could be accelerated by, inter alia, investment in strengthening infrastructure and agricultural services.

The exploitation of these opportunities involves three types of concerted action: In the long run, there could be scope for extension of the cropped area per household in connection with tsetse eradication and mechanisation either through animal traction or small tractors , as well as through agricultural industrialisation. Conservation agriculture would involve the introduction of reduced tillage, and improved land husbandry 29 , including the use of cover crops and mulching, as well as better soil management to address the soil fertility problem see Box 2.

As a condition for its success, the adoption of conservation agriculture also entails -- confinement and stallfeeding of animals, which releases organic matter for surface mulching and composting. Integrated pest and plant management mainly involves biological control of plant pests and weeds especially striga.

Crop-livestock integration is based upon increased cultivation of fodder crops, with cut and carry feeding systems. In the long run, such integration might involve pushing the frontier of animal traction southward into the tsetse-prone zone using new technologies Introduction of animal traction could facilitate the replication of successful models for the expansion cotton production that were promoted by the former cotton parastatals.

Farmers have responded to declining maize prices by diversifying crop production - increasing production of traditional root crops, as well as vegetables for urban markets. However, when the quantity of food supplied to urban markets expanded, prices levelled off and income increases were limited. Some options for addressing the problem of low farmer incomes include: To address the problem of breakdown of input supply and marketing services for cotton, the best options will be to organise small farmers to reinforce input supply and marketing services, and to introduce IPM methods for improved pest control, thereby reducing the dependence on purchased inputs.

As mentioned in the first section of this Chapter, crops and livestock are of comparable importance in this farming system see Box 2. Rainfed sorghum and pearl millet are the main sources of food and are rarely sold, whereas sesame and pulses are sometimes sold. Land preparation is by oxen, or by hoe along river banks. Camels are sometimes used in the drier parts. Ethnic groups are often former livestock-keeping peoples who have become sedentary.

Rather than carts, pack animals or animal-drawn sledges are used to transport crops. Crop-livestock interaction is limited; animals are used for ploughing, crop residues are grazed in the fields after harvest and sometimes cut , but fodder crops are not grown and kraal manure is rarely applied to fields.

The population lives in villages the whole year round, although part of the herd may continue to migrate seasonally with herd boys.

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