Food Security: The Challenge of Feeding 9 Billion People

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Science  12 Feb 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5967, pp. 812-818
DOI: 10.1126/science.1185383
Fig. 2

An example of a major successful sustainable agriculture project. Niger was strongly affected by a series of drought years in the 1970s and 1980s and by environmental degradation. From the early 1980s, donors invested substantially in soil and water conservation. The total area treated is on the order of 300,000 ha, most of which went into the rehabilitation of degraded land. The project in the Illela district of Niger promoted simple water-harvesting techniques. Contour stone bunds, half moons, stone bunding, and improved traditional planting pits (zaı¨) were used to rehabilitate barren, crusted land. More than 300,000 ha have been rehabilitated, and crop yields have increased and become more stable from year to year. Tree cover has increased, as shown in the photographs. Development of the land market and continued incremental expansion of the treated area without further project assistance indicate that the outcomes are sustainable (51, 52).