The so-called “green revolution” of farming saw the rise of industrial farming which has arguably done more harm than good. Now, the tides are turning back to a more natural way to grow food. Farmers in a few West African countries have used pesticide-free farming and have found it to be rather great!
To grow healthy crops, IPPM promotes soil improvement and alternatives to chemical pesticides such as the use of beneficial insects, adapted varieties, natural pesticides and cropping practices. Marketing and food safety issues are also part of the training programme.
“Trends in agriculture over the past decades in West Africa have seen an increasing use of highly toxic pesticides in higher-value, frequently irrigated crops. There is a general lack of knowledge in the region of the negative impacts of pesticides on the production, economy and health of communities and the environment,” said William Settle, FAO Senior Technical Officer.
“Simple experiments in the field, as practised by the Farmer Field Schools, have given smallholders the means to produce in a more environmentally friendly way, to substantially increase yields and earn a better income,” Settle added.
“Capacity building at community level is key to the sustainable intensification of food production, which will contribute to increased food security and improved livelihoods in the region, an important step towards achieving the first Millennium Development Goal, reducing hunger and povert