A 15 year project has been launched by agricultural bodies aimed at increasing staple food crop yields by 60 percent, average farm income by 50 percent and restoring 40 percent of degraded farms in areas that sit across the equator which are critical to world food supplies but continue to record dismal food production due to poor agricultural practices.
Dubbed Humidtropics the project also hopes to lift 25 percent of poor households above the poverty line and reduce the number of malnourished children by 30 percent, in an area that has the bulk of the rural poor residing there and which is critical to global food supplies, central to the maintenance of global biodiversity, and vital to the mitigation of greenhouse gasses. “The 15-year innovative CGIAR research program will help poor farm families, mostly led by women, to boost their income from agriculture while conserving the land for future generation,” read part of the report that explained the modalities that will be followed in executing the programme.
Kenya is among the countries targeted in the project will serve as a model to other institutions seeking to link agricultural systems research to developmental impact. Under the ambitious project banana farmers in East Africa, guinea pig keepers in DR Congo, the cocoa plantations of West Africa, the mixed crop-livestock systems of Central America and the Caribbean and the intensively farmed crop-and-livestock systems of Asia will receive hands on training and guidance on how to increase yields and reverse the adverse effects that poor agricultural practices and change in weather patterns has had on the biggest food suppliers in the world.
The humid tropics are the vast hot and wet areas around the equator that are home to about 2.9 billion people living on 3 billion hectares of land. “Humidtropics helps farm families to make better decisions about making their living and living their lives while caring for the environment they cultivate,” says Dr Ylva Hillbur, Deputy Director General Research with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)—the Lead Center for the programme.
The initial program participants include the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), International Potato Center (CIP), Bioversity International, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center (AVRDC), and Wageningen University.