Biodiversity can support a greener revolution in Africa

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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

In Africa there is an urgent need to increase crop productivity in order to improve environmental and food security in this area. In Malawi, the government has subsidized N-fertilizer and improved maize seed, bringing it to 10% of its original cost. This paper evaluates the results of a countrywide trial which tested the effects of legume diversification on maize yields in this region. The results suggest that long-lived legume crops are important contributors to conservation farming, because growing an 11 to 36 month plant provides extended living cover and leaf cover, which results in lower soil disturbance. This study shows that increased fertilizer efficiency, crop diversification, and increased stability of crop yield can have important implications for food security in Africa.

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Rural development, Conservation agriculture, Biodiversity, Soil management, Soil fertility, Soil quality, Food security, Sustainable agriculture, Biodiversity conservation, Legume diversification, Maize, Crop productivity, Fertilizers, Green revolution, Nitrogen, Ecosystem services, Farm/Enterprise Scale Field Scale Governance
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107(48): 20840-20845