E is for erosion

E is for erosion

Date: 23 September 2014

Erosion is a great concern in Madagascar. In this picture you can see by its colour that the Betsiboka river carries a lot of sediment down to the sea. Photo by oledoe (cc)

An estimated 24 billion tonnes of soil is lost from farm land every year – most of it washed into rivers and lakes. Deforestation, over-grazing, and industrial farming – particularly digging but also the practice of leaving soil bare between plantings – all contribute to leaving the soil exposed to wind and rain. As a result of erosion, the United Nations estimates that around 40% of the world’s agricultural land is severely affected.

In terms of soil erosion, techniques such as reduced or no-digging, the use of fertilizer trees and Conservation Agriculture tend to reduce soil erosion as well as increasing soil moisture and water infiltration.

For a fascinating lecture on the importance of soil in relation to human civilisation and the potential effects of long term soil erosion, have a listen to this: Dirt – The Erosion of Civilizations, by Dave Montgomery:

About the A-Z of food sovereignty project

The A-Z of Food Sovereignty in Africa shows the positive alternatives to corporate-led agriculture. A new letter was posted each day in the lead up to World Food Day arrived on 16 October 2014.

Africa’s small-scale food producers already know how to produce enough food sustainably to feed themselves but the political and economic rules which govern the food system are set against them. These rules are written by and for multinational companies and political elites, in support of a global food system that benefits them rather than the millions of smallholders and family farmers who produce the food and get little in return.