· Land has been under cultivation for centuries.
· The slope is steep in the higher lands.
· When there was no population pressure, the fertility of land used to be restored through fallow: a land management practice of leaving fields without cropping every couple of years. Under current sever population pressure and shrinking per capital land holding, farmers are not able to continue to use this good traditional practice.
· Animal dung and crop residues used to improve soil fertility. Due to the current acute shortages of fuel wood, farmers are increasingly using dung and crop residues for cooking and heating, thus diverting them from their traditional use of maintaining soil nutrients.
· There is serious erosion - both water and wind.
· They cannot afford the increasing need for fertilisers
· No alternative area for expansion or movement.
· There is a severe ecological degradation, desertification, climate change and lost land productivity.
· There is a desperate need for developing and adopting sustainable methods of land use.
Our projects seek to address the soil and water conservation needs by introducing and encouraging the use of improved land use systems for sustainable production of food, wood and feed. These include:
· Addition of vegetative organic matter, through the decomposition of leafy biomass and roots.
· Further, the ability of certain trees to fix atmospheric nitrogen contributes to better fertility. This would not only be beneficial to the soil, but would also be cheaper for resource-poor farmers and provide fodder or firewood. Improved systems such as Agroforestry technologies are encouraged for the biological and sustainable means of maintaining soil nutrients.
· We also support the initiation of small scale irrigation schemes.