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Farming debates said not helping Africa
by Staff Writers
Kigali, Rwanda (UPI) Oct 28, 2011

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A debate on farming practices to boost yields is slowing adoption of approaches that could solve Africa's food security situation, scientists have been told.

The polarizing debate, generally over the use of organic vs. inorganic practices, was discussed at a meeting of the Consortium for Improving Agriculture Based Livelihoods in Central Africa in Kigali, Rwanda, this week, a release from Burness Communications said.

"The ideological divide over approaches to farm production (is) a distraction from the actions needed to address food security now and ensure it in the future," Nteranya Sanginga of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture told the gathering of African and international scientists. "Persistently high food prices and low farm yields are weakening Central Africa's food security and putting the region's fragile stability and economic growth at risk."

Debates on issues such as whether fertilizer is a plus or a minus are getting in the way of solutions, attendees were told.

Fertilizer use in Africa is by far the lowest in the world.

"For many, fertilizer is a dirty word," Bernard Vanlauwe of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture said. "We have to focus on approaches that improve livelihoods."

"African agriculture is already organic. It's not working," Sanginga said. "We need to focus on practical things that help, not ideology."

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