N.C. A&T received 10 grants totaling $581,095 in December. One highlight of the month’s funding was a supplemental grant of $265,559 to Dr. Manuel Reyes of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design from the U.S. Agency for International Development through Virginia Tech University. Dr. Osei -Agyemang Yeboah is co-investigator on the grant. This funding is for the third year of the five-year program.
The project: Conservation Agriculture for Food Security in Cambodia and the Philippines
The issue: Degraded landscapes are expanding annually in Cambodia and the Philippines. Agricultural productivity is decreased, which, in turn, heightens food insecurity and exacerbates poverty. These conditions further stress and deplete the “last capital” for the poor, namely forest and soil.
Abstract: Through science-based research, we will show that conservation agriculture (CA) principles and practice of minimal soil disturbance, continuous mulching and diverse species rotations, constitute the best ‘tool box’ to create sustainable permanent cropping systems for annual crop production under wet tropical conditions. These reverse soil degradation, increase crop yield and profits and reduce the labor burden on women. To enhance the biophysical and socio-economic impacts of CA, pilot extension networks will quantify contributions of microcredit and mechanization access, farmer organizations and contract farming. In two years more than 200 households covering 200 ha will be practicing conservation agriculture in Battambang, Cambodia. In the Philippines, the Landcare-organized farmer groups with membership of >10,000 will facilitate wider acceptance of CA among smallholder farmers. This research will involve graduating 4 PhD and 4 MS students, and training 3 research technicians under the supervision of scientists from agricultural research institutions in Cambodia, Philippines, Europe and USA. Textbooks on CA will be prepared and a course on CA taught in Cambodia, the Philippines and the USA.
For more on the project, see Page 19 of the Spring 2011 issue of Evolution, the N.C. A&T research magazine.