Reference materials on ISFM specific cropping systems (Level 2)
ASHC Pocket guides to cropping systems
ASHC is developing ISFM pocket guides for five priority cropping systems prevalent across Africa. The targeted end-users include NGOs and public extension services.
The guides will also be useful to private sector companies involved in the production and marketing of the target crops and their inputs.
The first of these pocket guides is on the banana-coffee cropping system.
Both banana and coffee are important crops in the highlands of East Africa, in the humid forest zone of West Africa and in lowland Central Africa and parts of Southern Africa.
Banana is a key staple food and also provides an important source of income for farmers who trade at local, national and regional markets.
Coffee is a major cash crop for export, and a major contributor to many national economies in Africa.
Some farmers grow the two crops together, but others grow them separately. Growing the two crops together tends to give better returns but information is scarce on how to do this. Hence the need for a pocket guide that can be used for the establishment and management of the banana-coffee system.
In July 2012, the authors of the banana-coffee pocket guide (Ken Giller, Thomas Fairhurst, Piet van Asten and Lydia Wairegi), met in Wageningen University to agree on the structure, discuss the content and embark on writing the guide.
During the meeting, the authors came up with a rough draft of the pocket guide that is still under revision. The authors will later develop materials based on the pocket guides that target farmers, agricultural practitioners and extension workers specifically.
Other ASHC pocket guides will include:
Lowland rice: Sarah Fernandes, the information and knowledge management officer at AfricaRice is the point of contact for the team of four scientists developing the rice guide. Writing will start in October with a view to having a draft guide by the end of 2012. The ASHC sponsored guide will update a publication developed previously – but using more up to date and exclusively African ISFM information.
Cassava: IITA is overseeing the development of the cassava guide. Cassava has for a long time been considered as an "insurance crop" which is grown only where other crops cannot yield and one that does not require soil amendments. This guide will show how investment in ISFM can lead to significant increase in cassava yield and profits.
Sorghum millet-legume: Andre Bationo (AGRA) and Abdoulaye Mando (IFDC) will lead in the development of the sorghum millet-legume guide. These crops are most important in the Sahelian region, from where national and international experts will be identified to develop the guide.
Maize-legumes: a guide to maize legumes is also being developed.
ASHC field guides to plant nutrition
To help agricultural practitioners (BSc or Agriculture college level education) to identify and correct nutrient deficiencies and other disorders on different crops in the field, the ASHC project is developing pocket guides that will focus on different cropping systems. These will include
cereals (maize, sorghum, millet, rice);
legume crops (groundnuts beans, cowpea, soyabean);
root crops (cassava, sweet potato, Irish potato, yam)
cash crops (cocoa, oil palm, cotton, coffee, sugarcane, plantain, banana)
A protocol for the development of these pocket guides is currently available.
African Plant Nutrition Research Highlights – April 2012: The agronomic and economic benefits of fertilizer and mulch use in highland banana systems in Uganda
The Africa Rice Centre (AfricaRice): Together with its partners, AfricaRice research, development and partnership activities aimed at increasing the productivity and profitability of the rice sector. One way of dissemination research findings is through publications like Participatory Learning and Action Research (PLAR) for Integrated Rice Management (IRM) in Inland Valleys of Sub-Saharan Africa: Technical Manual which covers subjects as soils, plant nutrition and integrated soil fertility management.