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Good news crops up in Africa

Shrubby crops in Africa

Nobody thought a shrub could change the course of an entire continent—except the Spartans, that is.

In partnership with colleagues at the University of Malawi, MSU crop and soil scientist Sieg Snapp led a massive study on the effects of rotating corn with pigeonpea mixtures, or shrubby legumes, grown in tropical regions. The simple crop rotation was found to increase nutrient-rich grain productivity—boosting yields by as much as 23 percent and sparking an agricultural revolution.

“Farmers in Malawi are major land users and can be major land protectors, but we have to give them the tools,” says Snapp, who conducts research at MSU’s Kellogg Biological Station as part of MSU AgBioResearch and has spent nearly two decades working on projects in Malawi.

Today, more than 9,000 farm families in more than 60 villages have adopted new crops into their planting rotation, and Snapp says this crop diversification is projected to benefit some two million farmers in 2011.

Across the continent, as food and environmental security grow, so does Africa’s future.

Read the full story.

Watch a video of Sieg Snapp discussing her work in Africa.

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