This category contains 5 resources

Agroforestry Coffee cultivation in combination with mulching, trenches and organic composting in Uganda

This technology describes a combination of good practices for soil and water conservation that were introduced to coffee farmers in the central cattle corridor of Uganda, with the aim to enhance their resilience to dry spells, pests and diseases, as part of the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) project on Agriculture Adaptation to Climate Change in Uganda. The combination of good practices include: (a) mulching, a low cost practice that consists in covering the soil with locally available degradable plant materials to reduce water runoff and evapotranspiration; (b) digging contour trenches for harvesting water during the rainy season while preserving soil quality; (c) preparation and application of organic compost to improve soil fertility at low costs; and (d) planting shade trees within the coffee plantation in order to provide shade and improve soil fertility.

Mulching in Organic Agriculture

Mulching is the process of covering the topsoil with plant material such as leaves, grass, twigs, crop residues, straw etc. A mulch cover enhances the activity of soil organisms such as earthworms. They help to create a soil structure with plenty of smaller and larger pores through which rainwater can easily infiltrate into the soil, thus reducing surface runoff. As the mulch material decomposes, it increases the content of organic matter in the soil. Soil organic matter helps to create a good soil with stable crumb structure. Thus the soil particles will not be easily carried away by water. Therefore, mulching plays a crucial role in preventing soil erosion.

Mulching to control soil erosion in Dominica

In Dominica, natural hazards, such as storms and hurricanes regularly occur and directly affect agricultural productivity and production. Heavy rainfalls, especially in the late summer and autumn months from August to December, significantly increase susceptibility to landslides and soil erosion and lead to a loss of productive top soils, among others. Therefore, careful soil management practices in crop production are required. Mulching is an on-farm soil conservation strategy to protect the soil from the impacts of heavy rainfalls, storms, and droughts. Besides preventing soil erosion, mulching also reduces weed growth, and increases soil moisture, microbial action, and soil fertility.

Soil and water conservation practices to reduce soil erosion and enhance water conservation, St. Lucia

The island of Saint Lucia is a small island developing country in the Caribbean. The country’s development strategies try to balance economic development and environmental conservation. One of the key challenges for agriculture is land degradation as well as drought-like conditions in some parts of the island. Due to natural climate patterns in the Eastern Caribbean the island has an annual dry season usually lasting from January to April/May, with some annual variation. During the dry season water shortages regularly increase regularly and threaten cropping under rain fed conditions. Particularly in the hilly areas of St Lucia with steep slopes, which are often used as farmlands, there is a strong need for systemic conservation of water, and reduction of soil erosion. Integrated soil and water conservation practices are therefore key. The installation of an up hill water tank on a cemented platform, combined with roof water collection, controlled gravity irrigation, and the establishment of counter stone bunds, and mulching created a very successful combination of farming practices to counteract exposure to drought and dry spells. It further helped to reduce water runoff and soil losses, while conserving soil moisture on the farm plot. The package was demonstrated under the an FAO project ‘Enhanced capacities for disaster risk management in agriculture, fisheries and forestry’ (TCP/SLT/3202), which was implemented for DRR in Agriculture in from 2009- to 2011. It demonstrated that, if managed well, sufficient water can be conserved during the rainy season to allow an additional cropping cycle in the dry season, thereby increasing income and contributing to people’s livelihoods.

Enhancing drought resistance through guinea grass mulching, Jamaica

Jamaica is highly exposed to hydro-meteorological hazards, such as hurricanes, floods, drought, high magnitude rainfall and landslides.. Drought has become more frequent in some areas of Jamaica, which increases the vulnerability of farmers whose livelihoods mainly depend on agriculture. In those areas the identification of agricultural practices, which help to reduce the adverse impacts of natural hazards is critical to long-term sustainable development. Guinea grass mulching is one of the local drought-mitigation strategies adopted in the low-rainfall areas of Jamaica. After the land preparation dried guinea grass is applied in a matted form over the area to be cultivated. This is undertaken before sowing and helps to control soil erosion, increases the water retention capacity of the soil and improves the soil structure.