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Type: Book chapter
Title: Modernisation of Eritrean rainfed farming systems through a conservation farming systems approach
Author: Cummins, J.
Coventry, D.
Citation: Rainfed Farming Systems, 2011 / Tow, P., Cooper, I., Partridge, I., Birch, C. (ed./s), pp.451-466
Publisher: Springer
Publisher Place: United Kingdom
Issue Date: 2011
ISBN: 9781402091315
Statement of
Jay Cummins and David Coventry
Abstract: Agricultural productivity improvements, particularly in grains for human consumption, are essential in Eritrea if this developing country in eastern Africa is to achieve food security. The central highlands of Eritrea, where much of the grain is produced, is characterised by low (though high-intensity) rainfall that limits the growing season to a length of 4–5 months, highly erodible soils and intense land use competition from pastoral activities. The cultural practices of Eritrean farmers, which appear to have changed little over hundreds of years, include cultivation by oxen, broadcasting of seed by hand and hand harvesting. Animal threshing of grain is still common in many of the agricultural areas. The crop and pasture residues are normally grazed, or used for fuel, thus leaving the soil exposed to wind and water erosion. Eritrean farming systems are complicated by social pressures from practices such as communal grazing and, for many farmers, a revolving 5–7-year land tenure system. With a need to achieve food security, the key to sustainable farming in Eritrea may be to develop agricultural systems based on conservation farming practices, within a farmer participatory framework, where indigenous knowledge systems are recognised and respected. This will need to be done by gradual incremental improvements that address both the socio-economic and technological barriers to systems improvement.
Keywords: Rainfed farming systems; conservation agriculture; no-till; communal grazing; agricultural extension; modernisation of agriculture
Rights: © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011
RMID: 0020116435
DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-9132-2_18
Appears in Collections:Agriculture, Food and Wine publications

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