Agricultural Innovations

We Need Youth! Small mechanization to preserve Moroccan Oases

For centuries, oases supported agriculture and sustained livelihoods in arid climates. Over the last few decades, oases in Morocco have been progressively neglected. They are fragile ecosystems and without constant care from the next generation, are facing progressive degradation. Date palms are one of the most important resources in an oasis, but as a consequence of the progressive land abandonment, the loss of knowledge and labour force are hindering its production.

The University of Florence, in collaboration with the University of Moulay Ismail and ICARDA, proposed the introduction of small machines as a possible solution to reduce the drudgery of farm work, facilitate field operations, and make agriculture more attractive for the young farmers.


However, Pietro Bartolini explained that the main limitations may be linked to access, in fact the investment cost is often not affordable for smallholders. For this reason, the proposed intervention will target local cooperatives, in order to ensure a better economic sustainability.

Food for Thought: Do Agricultural Innovations Improve Our Health?

SF BreakOut 1_05 copy The Science Forum 2013 in Bonn, Germany, Discusses the Links between Agriculture and Health and how they can be Improved Imagine for a moment that you're a small-scale farmer from a poor region and you grow a number of crops. Some of the crops you sell for cash which you probably use to purchase other foods you don't grow yourself, or to pay for other family expenses. The food you don't sell, you eat. But you later decide to start growing a high-yielding cotton variety with a good market demand. Your new choice in crop brings you greater income which you then use to purchase a wider range of healthier, more nutritious foods that you may not have had access to before. Such a scenario makes sense, unless you consider the contradicting evidence currently coming from research in China. (read more)
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