Save and Grow, an environmentally-friendly farming model promoted by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), can sustainably increase cassava yields by up to 400 percent and help turn this staple from a poor people’s food into a 21st Century cash crop, the United Nations (UN) has said.
In a newly-published field guide detailing Save and Grow’s applications to cassava smallholder production, FAO noted that global cassava output has increased by 60 per cent since 2000 and is set to accelerate further over the current decade as policymakers recognise its huge potential.
But using the inputs-intensive approach pioneered during last century’s Green Revolution to boost cassava production risks causing further damage to the natural resource base and increasing the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change.
The solution, says FAO, lies in the Save and Grow approach which achieves higher yields with improved soil health rather than with the heavy use of chemical inputs. The model minimises soil disturbance caused by conventional tillage such as ploughing, and recommends maintaining a protective cover of vegetation over soil.
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