Agricultural intensification in Mali and Sudan through improved soil fertility, integrated pest management and mechanization
This report (PDF) by PROIntenseAfrica discusses the role of improved farm power and mechanization, seed priming, improved soil fertility (microdosing) and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices in the intensification of agricultural production in Mali and Sudan. There is broad agreement that agricultural intensification is needed to achieve economic growth in Africa, but the question is which intensification pathway (that is high input, organic, agro-ecology or sustainable) is most appropriate to the African situation. This study identified crop management (agronomic practices) and pest control as paramount to all pathways. A research and development collaboration between Institute Economie Rurale in Mali, Agriculture Research Cooperation in Sudan, Department of International Environment and Development Studied (Noragric) at Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), and Dryland Coordination Group in Norway was initiated in 2005 on agricultural intensification in drylands. Despite some success stories with mechanization and other technologies, their introduction has not been without problems and adoption has been slow. For example, the motorized machine/planter has a higher capacity than a machine drawn by traction animals, but the motorized planter costs about 800 Euro, and thus is expensive for farmers. Capacity building, awareness creation through farmers training and access to credits are crucial for the adoption and sustainable use of agricultural technologies in Mali and Sudan. Given the very high loss due to pest damage, intensification of crop production without an adequate protection from pest damage is not economically viable.