How Small Is Beautiful? Soil Infertility and Farm Size Make a Double Poverty Trap

Friday, February 12, 2016: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Wilson C (Marriott Wardman Park)
Ken Giller, Wageningen University, Wageningen, Netherlands
Yield gaps are pervasive in African smallholder agriculture. Continuous cropping without sufficient inputs of nutrients and organic matter leads to localised but extensive soil degradation and renders many soils in a non-responsive state. Farms are small, and those of the poorest are smallest, whilst the continent faces unprecedented poulation growth. Combined with the lack of response to inputs of fertiliser and labour in such soils, this constitutes a chronic double poverty trap for many smallholder farmers in Africa. A rethink of development policy is required to improve productivity and address problems of food insecurity.