• warning: Parameter 1 to content_profile_load_profile() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/mayotte/sunfinal/includes/module.inc on line 462.
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  • warning: Illegal string offset 'keywords' in /home/mayotte/sunfinal/sites/all/modules/googleajaxsearch/googleajaxsearch.inc on line 585.
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Study Finds Soil Organisms Increase Crop Yields

An international research project has found that soil-living bacteria and fugi can increase crop yields more than 50%. By adding fertilizer to the mix, yields of key crops such as beans, more than double in output.

The findings are the result of an international effort to unravel the mysteries of what is called 'below ground biodiversity' and could have important implications in the area of food security as well as a potential boon to farmers incomes.

Some key findings from the study include;

  • Studies in Kenya indicate that inoculation with Rhizobium bacteria increased soybean yields by 40% to 60% in varios regions without the use of fertilizers.
  • When the organisms like Trichoderma are used in combination with fertilizers which have micro-nutrients, bean yields more than doubled.

Also, the sduy found that the amount of fertilizer needed to boost yields is far less than using inorganic fertilizer on its own and that some of the micro-organisms assist in fighting crop diseases which in turn can reduce the need for pesticides.

For farmers switching to organic agriculture-whose produce commands higher premiums on world markets-this could prove especially valuable.

The findings were announced today at the opening of a week-long conference at the World Agroforestry Centre. The conference, bringing together some 70 experts, will outline how the soil organisms work, where they live and how they are extracted from the soil and packaged to work in the farmers' fields and in other ecosystems.

The research project, entitled the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Below Ground Biodiversity (CSM-BGBD), has involved scientists from Brazil, Cote d'Ivoire, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico and Uganda.

The eight-year project has been coordinated by the Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Institute of CIAT (TSBF-CIAT) with co-financing from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), and implementation support from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

 

Details of the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Below-Ground Biodiversity (CSM-BGBD) project can be found at http://www.bgbd.net