Promoting conservation agriculture in Africa

Canadian Foodgrains Bank will receive federal funds to scale 
up smallholder adoption 

Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) has received $14 million from the federal government to scale up conservation agriculture programs in three African countries.

The funding provided on a three-to-one matching basis, will enable the organization to assist 50,000 farmers in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania, up from 5,000 farmers it is currently assisting, it says in a release.

CFGB member agencies will be able to provide training, technical assistance and support for farmers who want to learn how to use conservation agriculture to increase the productivity of their farms.

The total budget for the program is $18.67 million: $14 million from Foreign Affairs, Trade and Develop­ment Canada and $4.67 million from Canadian Food­grains Bank.

Conservation agriculture is characterized by the three linked principles of minimizing soil disturbance, permanently covering the soil, and including crop rotations and associations. It has proven effective at restoring soil health and fertility, improving the capture and use of rainfall, and increasing crop yields and farm profitability.

In addition to directly assisting farmers through training, CFGB will also work with farmer groups, non-governmental organizations, government and the private sector to promote conservation agriculture systems for smallholder farmers more broadly in East Africa, and work to improve the quality and implementation of national and regional agricultural policies and programs supporting conservation agriculture in the region.

Canadian Foodgrains Bank is a partnership of 15 churches and church agencies working together to end global hunger. In the 2014-15 budget year, CFGB provided $41.6 million of assistance for 1.1 million people in 39 countries.

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