In India, the Green Revolution lifted millions of people out of poverty, yet the large-scale use of chemical fertilizers left the country’s soils severely depleted. ProSoil shows how Indian farmers join traditional and innovative practices to not only restore their soils but also mitigate climate change.
In India, agriculture’s Green Revolution ended hunger for millions of people. Yet in doing so, the large-scale use of chemical fertilizers to boost productivity has taken a severe toll on the sub-continent’s soil. Almost 40 percent of the Indian landmass – 147 million hectares –is affected by land degradation, with 3.7 million hectares suffering from severe depletion of soil organic matter and nutrients. Land degradation is mainly driven by poor soil management and agricultural practices, improper irrigation, as well as the overuse of agro-chemicals and fertilizers. Climate change further accelerates the loss of soil organic carbon (SOC). This organic carbon constitutes a critical soil component for nutrient retention and turnover, moisture retention, pollutant degradation and, most importantly, carbon sequestration.
India’s Government Advocates for Natural Farming Methods
Fortunately, the vital role of soil organic carbon is recognized by Indian farmers and policy makers and there is growing momentum around land management focused on soil health. India has ambitious plans to halt and reverse soil degradation in the agriculture sector in order to address associated challenges such as low farmer incomes, high agricultural input costs, and environmental degradation.
In his landmark speech on December 16th, 2021, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented an alternative path to conventional agriculture called Natural Farming (NF). NF is a chemical-free traditional farming method. It is considered an agroecology-based diversified farming system which integrates crops, trees and livestock with functional biodiversity.
We need not only to re-learn the ancient knowledge of agriculture but also to sharpen it for modern times.
'In this direction, we have to do research afresh, mould ancient knowledge into the modern scientific frame’ says the Indian Prime Minister.
Implementing SOC-Rehabilitation on the Ground
Since 2015, the global programme ‘Soil Protection and Soil Rehabilitation for Food Security’ (ProSoil) has been supporting smallholder farmers, on behalf of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, in six African countries – Ethiopia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Madagascar, Tunisia and India – in making desolate soils permanently fertile with sustainable land management. In India, the programme and its national partners promote the use of innovative soil inputs such as urban compost produced from organic municipal waste, and biochar. Together with further organic waste products such as cattle manure or compost, this plant-based coal is added as Terra Preta ( ‘black soil’) to the soil in order to increase its organic carbon, thus enhancing the ground’s carbon sequestration processes. At the same time, knowledge on indigenous and traditional regenerative farming practices like vermi-composting, farm-yard manure and green manuring is disseminated to farmers.
Evidence from two ProSoil project states in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh shows that efforts to improve soil health through sustainable nutrient and soil carbon management have resulted in more stable crops during dry spells and better yields compared to conventional production systems. In India, many states such as Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Sikkim are already actively implementing large scale NF programmes. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare estimates that around 2.5 million farmers are already practicing NF. Initiated in 2020, the national programme on Natural Farming could become the largest carbon sequestration and soil health programme worldwide.
India and Germany also partner to promote holistic solutions for resilient agriculture and food systems such as agroecology. The upcoming Indo-German Lighthouse on ‘Agroecology and Natural Resource Management’ represents an opportunity to address issues that cause soil degradation from various angles – by promoting alternative paths of agricultural intensification that preserve diversity and existing traditional knowledge while unlocking the potential of modern technologies.
Insurance companies could provide protection during droughts in Africa. How exactly this could be done is what the industry is currently trying to figure out. First experiences are available. An interview with the Managing Director of the Munich Re Foundation, Thomas Loster
Over a period of two years, the Ceres2030 team spent researching answers to the questions of how much it will how much it will cost to realize SDG 2 and where that money should be spent most effectively. IISD Senior Advisor and Ceres2030 Co-director Carin Smaller about small farmers, machine learning and women empowerment.
For years, place-based approaches to development have been considered important features in development cooperation, at the BMZ and in FAO. Both organisations are aiming at advancing these approaches: an interview with Adriano Campolina from the FAO on territorial and landscape perspectives.
The Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2020 shows that the world is not on track to meet the international goal of “zero hunger by 2030”. If we continue at our current speed, around 37 countries will not even have reached a low hunger level by 2030.
The CGIAR agricultural research organization is systematically repositioning itself. We spoke with Juergen Voegele, Vice President for Sustainable Development at the World Bank, about progress to date - and discuss what needs to be done collectively to stop global hunger in ten years.
110 speakers from 120 countries met virtually at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) to discuss the challenges to global food supply. They asked the question: How can food systems support the health of people and the planet?
Africa is home to the world’s youngest and fastest growing population. For many young people, agriculture could offer a job perspective. But to improve the living conditions and job prospects of young people in rural areas, political reforms and investments are desperately needed, as these people will be at the centre of agriculture and agricultural development in the future.
What are the consequences of using synthetic pesticides in agriculture? Where do they help, where do they harm? Lena Luig, expert for the development policy organization INKOTA, and science journalist Ludger Weß discuss this controversial topic of international scope.
At the beginning of December 2018, AGRA's board of directors met in Berlin. The "Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa" panel discussed the next steps in their policy of modernizing agriculture. How to go on in the next ten years? One question - many answers from experts.
Joe DeVries is a breeder – and Vice President of AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa). What are the chances and risks of a ’green revolution‘ in Africa? A discourse between Jan Rübel and him about productivity, needs, and paternalism.
Stefan Liebing is chairman of the Africa Association of German Business. The manager calls for a better structure of African farms. Jan Rübel asked him about small farmers, the opportunities for German start-ups and a new fund.
Chancellor Merkel has begun an ambitious European political programme: Striving for compromise in budget negotiations, an orderly Brexit as well as an appropriate response to the corona crisis. Unfortunately, one of her positions that she previously held is nowhere to be found: Africa's prosperity is in the interest of Europe.
Africa has a huge opportunity to make agriculture its economic driver. However, the potential for this is far from being made exhaustive use of, one reason being that women face considerable difficulties in their economic activities. The organisation AWAN Afrika seeks to change this state of affairs.
The Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) was launched by the G20 countries in 2010 in response to the 2008-09 food price crisis to increase both public and private investment in agriculture. An overview of the programme's approach, results and impact.
The COVID 19 pandemic is hitting developing and emerging countries and their poorest populations particularly hard. It is important to take countermeasures at an early stage. Companies in the German agricultural sector want to make their contribution to ensuring the availability of urgently needed operating resources.
The region of Sub-Saharan Africa is on the decisive verge of a great development boost in farming: it could skip entire generations of technological development. But how? About possible roles and potentials of digital services.
What do electrical engineering, telecommunications and agriculture have in common? They arouse the passion of Strive Masiyiwa: Thirty years ago, he started an electrical installation company with $75, later riding the telecommunications wave as a pioneer. Today he is committed to transforming African agriculture.
In this article, the author describes what we know about interlinkages, what role agriculture has to play in the sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity, and what the necessary changes in agricultural systems might look like, both on small and large-scale farms.
An Interview with Francisco Marí (Brot für die Welt)
Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World) did not attend the UNFSS pre-summit. Instead, the organisation took part in a counter-summit that took place at the same time. A conversation with Francisco Marí about the reasons, the process - and an outlook for the future
Vitamin-poor nutrition must become more expensive, in-vitro meat is not a panacea, and agricultural systems should be more decentralised. Bioland President Jan Plagge in an interview about the challenge of (future) world nutrition.
Genetically modified bacteria become edible proteins, cows graze on pasture, and no waste is produced in an industrial circular economy. Journalist Jan Grossarth sees a silver lining for the future of world nutrition
Out of 40 consortia that applied from all over the world, 14 were invited to present their innovative concept on agroecological approaches in the form of an online pitch and to face the questions of an international jury of experts. Find out which six semi-finalists were selected by the jury and what happens next in this article.
The future is rural. Young African entrepreneurs gave their generation a vocie during the G-20 conference in Berlin. "World Without Hunger" asked six of them, how more jobs can be created in rural areas.
"One World no Hunger" (SEWOH) becomes one of the five core themes of the BMZ. Dirk Schattschneider, SEWOH Commissioner about previous approaches, future areas of action, and the political will to end hunger.
An Interview with Shamika Mone (INOFO) and Elizabeth Nsimadala (EAFF)
At the UN Food Systems Summit, farmers organizations have been represented on the international stage for the first time ever. Two representatives talk about bridging personal aspirations with the representation of regional needs and international negotiations.
Based on a scientific study by TMG Think Tank, the authors highlight various challenges in the fight against the hunger crisis. The findings show that climate change, conflict and covid-19 are increasing food and energy prices.
After a two-year break due to Corona, the doors of the International Green Week (IGW) in Berlin are opening again. From 20th to 29th January, visitors from all over the world can discover, marvel and taste the produce. But the event is not only feasting and fun. The BMZ stand asks questions about where food comes from & where it goes – and in the process becomes a crash test for many habits.
A contribution by Prof. Dr. Anna-Katharina Hornidge
In the video format "#99SecondsWith" of the German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS), Prof. Dr Anna - Katharina Hornidge talks about the new Africa-Strategy of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
How can the challenges related to water, rural development and climate resilient agriculture be addressed? What innovations need to be promoted? The Water and Energy for Food (WE4F) initiative presents strategies and innovations for sustainable, integrated water management in German and international cooperation.
A Year of Multiple Crises: Russian war against Ukraine, extreme weather events, high prices for energy and fertilizer, food crisis had severe implications for food security and agriculture globally and especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. A Transformation of the food systems is needed.
Kenya is a large importer of vetable oils mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia - amongst them sunflower oil. Due to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, there were supply bottlenecks and food shortages, leading to less affordable vegetable oils in Kenya. As a response to the lack of supply, the Sanga'alo Institute of Science and Technology, took that impulse, teamed up with the GIZ and established regional cultivation and refinement of sunflowers.
Protectionist policies like tariffs supposedly protect domestic producers if they cannot compete with cheaper imported products. Some African countries have therefore opted to impose such import restrictions for a number of products. For the case of chicken imports in Ghana, this study analyses whether restrictions would lead to overall positive or negative welfare effects among households.
Regarding deforestation free supply chains, there are challenges and opportunities for smallholder farmers as well as for international forest governance. Also, responsibilities for companies and potential incentives for manufacturers to use materials from fair trade and sustainable sources need to be explored. But what does “deforestation-free” actually mean?
The Africa Agriculture Trade Monitor 2022 (AATM) was published by IFPRI and AKADEMIYA2063. The report analyses the short- and long-term trends and drivers of African agricultural trade flows, including regional policies and the role of global markets.
Since early February 2022, two of the biggest grain and oilseed exporters have been at war. An overview, which countries are affected most severely by the destabilized grain markets, and what comes next.
The German government is struggling to pass a supply chain law. It is intended to address violations of human rights, social and environmental standards. What would the consequences be for business? A double interview with Veselina Vasileva from GEPA and economics professor Andreas Freytag.
The Corona pandemic is hitting economies around the world very hard - but developments in African countries are quite diverse. There are different speeds, resiliences and vulnerabilities. What are the reasons for this? Apl. Prof. Jann Lay of the GIGA Institute provides answers.
Four interviews kick off the relaunch under the new name „Food4Transformation“, asking the same questions from different perspectives. Dirk Meyer, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, thinks: less individual solutions are needed, but more systemic approaches. Because in addition to the goals for food security, the issues of climate and biodiversity must also be taken into account.
Four interviews kick off the relaunch under the new name „Food4Transformation“, asking the same questions from different perspectives. Dr Julia Köhn, Chair of the German AgriFood Society, points out in the interview: Only if innovation and transformation are profitable in the medium term can they close the food gap in the long term.
Four interviews kick off the relaunch under the new name „Food4Transformation“, asking the same questions from different perspectives. "Women and young people need access to land. And they need financial support to cultivate this land." - says Kolyang Palebele, President of the Pan African Farmers Organisation (PAFO).
In Eastern El Salvador, campesinos are cultivating a self-image to encourage rural youth to remain in rural areas. With help from Caritas, they have adjusted the cultivation methods to their soils and traditions - Marvin Antonio Garcia Otero,the deputy director of Caritas of the Diocese of San Miguel believes this is the best way to prevent rural exodus and criminality.
The first Climate Adaptation Summit put climate adaptation at the center of politics for the first time. The virtual meeting united global players with one goal: building resilience is just as important as climate protection itself. Around 15,000 participants discussed direct proposals.
Environmental change is having a particularly strong impact on the African continent. Its landscapes see both negative and positive processes. What is science's view of this? A conversation with Cyrus Samimi about mobility for livelihoods, urban gardening and dealing with nature.
In August, Germany’s development ministry set up a division concentrating on One Health topics. Parliamentary State Secretary Maria Flachsbarth on knowledge gaps at the human-animal-environmental interface, the link between One Health and food security, and lessons learnt from previous pandemics.
From the lab to the masses: Maria Andrade bred varieties of biofortified sweet potatoes which are now widely used all over the continent. She sets her hope on the transformation of African agriculture.
Freshwater deficits are affecting more and more people throughout the world. In order to counter this, our global food system will have to change, our author maintains. A case for more research on alternative crops and smart water solutions.
A contribution by Kerstin Weber and Brit Reichelt-Zolho (WWF)
Biodiversity and sustainable agriculture ensure the nutrition of whole societies. But there is more: These two factors also provide better protection against the outbreak of dangerous pandemics. Hence, the question of preserving ecosystems is becoming a global survival issue.
Double interview with Tony Rinaudo and Volker Schlöndorff
Tony Rinaudo uses conventional reforestation methods to plant millions and millions of trees – and Volker Schlöndorff is filming a cinema documentary about the Australian. The outcome so far: An educational film on behalf of the BMZ (Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development).
If there is a lack of fertile soil and rain, hunger breaks out quickly. Maria Smentek from the World Food Programme (WFP) explains how farmers and pastoralists can counter climate change with hydroponic-systems.
The majority of producers in developing countries are women. Although they contribute significantly to the food security of their families, they remain chronically disadvantaged in male-dominated agriculture in terms of access to land, credit, technology and education.
Interview with Bernadette Arakwiye und Salima Mahamoudou (World Resources Institute)
Deforestation is leading to a shortage of ressources. What are the options for counteracting? A conversation with Bernadette Arakwiye and Salima Mahamoudou about renaturation and the possibilities of artificial intelligence.
It began with clicks at a trade fair and ends with concrete reforestation: a campaign at the Green Week in Berlin is now enriching the forests of the Yen Bai Province in Vietnam. A chronicle of an education about climatic relevance to concrete action - and about the short distances on our planet.
A contribution by Dr. Kathleen Mar and Dr. Nicole de Paula
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, health is receiving unprecedented public and political attention. Yet the fact that climate change is also affecting the environmental and social determinants of health in a profound and far-reaching way deserves further recognition.
A report by Bettina Rudloff and Annette Weber (SWP)
The Corona-Virus exacerbates existing crises through conflict, climate, hunger and locusts in East Africa and the Horn of Africa. What needs to be done in these regions? To face these challenges for many countries, all of these crises need to be captured in their regional context.
A report by Alexander Müller and Jes Weigelt (TMG)
As the climate changes, the population of Africa is growing and fertile land and jobs are becoming scarcer. New ways are currently leading to urbanisation of agriculture and a new mid-sized sector in the countryside
Every one degree Celsius rise in temperature increases the risk of conflict by two to ten percent. The climate crisis is a humanitarian crisis, as the photos by Christoph Püschner and Frank Schultze illustrate.
At the climate conference in Glasgow, activists from various groups protested again – Leonie Bremer from ‘Fridays for Future’ was there too. How can climate protection and development cooperation work hand in hand?
This year's United Nations World Drug Report highlights for the first time the nexus between illicit drugs and the environment. In view of climate change, it is time to feed the debate with facts and make drug policy greener
Martin Frick has been director of the WFP office in Berlin for a year – since then one hunger crisis has followed another. What are the diplomat's answers? A conversation about opportunities in agriculture, the interplay of multiple crises, the importance of resilience and tighter budgets.
Development cooperation needs to place good governance and a sustainable agri-food systems transformation at its center: After the first 100 days in office have passed, Dirk Meyer from the German Development Ministry (BMZ) spells out the goals, guidelines and priorities of the Ministry’s new lead.
A Contribution of the 'Initiative for Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chains' (INA)
Fair Trade organisations and the Initiative for Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chains (INA) have launched the #ichwillfair campaign during COP26 to highlight the link between global supply chains and climate change.
Africa's cotton production plays a key role in the fight against poverty. The "Cotton Made in Africa" initiative promotes sustainable cultivation - one element of which is the use of organic pesticides. Entomologist Ben Sekamatte and cotton company manager Boaz Ogola talked with Jan Rübel about soil and yields.
How can agriculture modernise Africa? And does the road to the cities really lead out of poverty? Dr. Reiner Klingholz from the Berlin Institute for Population and Development in conversation with Jan Rübel .
A contribution by Dr. May Hokan and Dr. Arnulf Köhncke (WWF)
Due to the coronavirus crisis, the connection between human and animal health has gained new attention. Politicians and scientists are joining forces to propagate the solution: One Health. But what is behind the concept? And can it also guarantee food security for all people worldwide?
Urban gardening is becoming increasingly popular in northern metropoles. People who consider themselves part of a green movement are establishing productive gardens in the city, for example on rooftops or in vacant lots. In severely impoverished regions of the global South, urban agriculture is a component of the food strategy.
A Contribution by Emile Frison and Nick Jacobs (IPES-Food)
While having failed to solve the hunger problem, industrial agriculture appears to be causing additional ones both in environmental and health terms. Emile Frison and Nick Jacobs call for a transformation.