The Interplay between Smallholder Farmers and Fragile Tropical Agroecosystems in the Kenyan Highlands
35 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2004
That farmers rely on the land for their livelihoods is obvious. The converse, that ecosystem services depend on farmers' behaviors, must also be recognized if agricultural productivity is to be improved. In sub Saharan Africa, the 70% of the population employed in the agricultural sector (Sanchez 2002) is engaged in an on-going 'dialogue' with the agricultural natural resource base. Recently, this conversation has not been going well: per capita food production has remained stagnant for the last 40 years so now 180 million on the continent lack adequate food, a number that has increased by 100% since 1970 (Sanchez 2002). To provide adequate diets to the African population, increases in crop yields of 3.0 to 3.5% y-1 are needed (Reardon et al. 2001), but such increases have not been realized as average maize yields have remained static at 1200 kg ha-1.
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