In the next several slides, we will talk about some of the ways we can practice CSA in crop production.
Intercropping means planting two or more crops at the same time on the same field. And crop rotation is growing a series of crops on the same plot one after the other. The colors on the table tell you how good these practices are improving productivity, reducing pests and diseases, and increasing soil fertility. Green means good, yellow means may or may not be good, and red means bad. You will see this colored table again many times in this module.
Intercropping a cereal with a legume is a popular practice for intercropping in many places in Africa. For example maize or sorghum with cowpeas or stylo forage legume. Intercropping millet, sorghum, or maize with cowpeas is reducing rain runoff erosion, and increasing crop yield in Burkina Faso, while legumes are increasing soil fertility and giving additional nutrition and animal feed during the dry season. The crops are also not vulnerable to the same pests and diseases, so there is less likelihood for all crops to be affected.
As you can see, intercropping is very good for increasing productivity and reducing risks of pests and diseases.
This pie chart on the right has the same topics as we discussed before: access to resources (both land and input), access to labor and time use of men and women, access to information about agricultural practices, access to markets to buy from and sell to, and access to finance (savings and credit).
For each example, if we think it is difficult for farmers, especially women farmers, to have access to something, or the practice may make things harder for them (for example more labor), then we color it red.
Similarly, if women and other marginalized population can easily access something and the practice makes it easier for them, we color it green.
We will use an intercropping example to see how men and women can have different ability to start this practice. Women from one village, Awa and Mariam are discussing their opinion about intercropping.
Crop rotationsin our regions are mostly done with cereals and staples: millet, cassava and sorghum. Different crops take different nutrients from the soil, so by rotating, the soil stays fertile for longer. You can also use natural mulch as fertilizer and that can keep the soil more fertile.
As we can see by this example, farmers in the Karaba village in Burkina Faso practiced crop rotation, mulching and cover crops on their lands. As a result, farmers increased their agricultural production and food supply.
Now we will think about the same access concerns for women trying to do crop rotation. Research shows that rotating different cereals in different years can increase yields. But consider these questions and think about how a millet farmer woman might have difficulty of changing to sorghum or cassava next year.
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