Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Small resource changes might help Kenyans escape poverty trap

16.02.2004


Madzuu is a village in Kenya’s western highlands and Lake Victoria basin where the rainfall is abundant, and there is some access to urban markets. And yet about 61 percent of the village population earned less than 50 cents a day in real terms in both 1989 and 2002. Many people there are trapped in chronic poverty from which escape is difficult.


Alice Pell and her Nairobi collaborators, Louis Verchot of the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (left) and David Mbugua, Cornell Ph.D. Õ03, are studying how small changes in natural resources could have profound effects on the lives of poor villagers. Cornell News Service phto by David BrandCopyright © Cornell University



Alice Pell, professor of animal science at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., is the principal investigator on a five-year, multidisciplinary research effort to study how small changes in natural resources could have profound effects on people’s lives. In Madzuu’s case, restoring the land’s natural productivity could alter the economic situation of the farmers.

Pell reported on the research team’s first year of work today (Feb. 14) at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Seattle. Her talk, "The Interplay Between Small Farms and Fragile Tropical Ecosystems in Kenya," was part of the "Frontiers in Biocomplexity Science" portion of the "Connections in the Real World" symposium.


In addition to working in the Lake Victoria basin, the researchers are studying a second village, Embu, on the shoulder of Mount Kenya. Both villages have high agricultural potential despite dense populations and small farm size.

Yet there is a big difference between the two villages. In Madzuu, soil degradation is extensive, and more than half the farmers earn less than $205 per capita annually, the Kenyan poverty line. The reason? Madzuu farmers use few soil inputs, such as fertilizers, resulting in loss of rich soil, accelerating the downward, economic spiral, said Pell. "Limited movement out of poverty between 1989 and 2002 in Madzuu suggests the existence of poverty traps," she said. The soils in Madzuu farmland contain just 16.3 grams per kilogram of soil organic carbon and only 1.6 grams per kilogram of nitrogen. By comparison, preliminary research shows that Embu’s farmers commonly use more fertilizers and other inputs to maintain soil quality. Consequently, Embu cropland contains roughly twice as much soil organic carbon (35.6 grams per kilogram) and nitrogen (3.4 grams per kilogram).

The research team also includes Susan Riha, Cornell’s C. L. Pack Research Professor of Forest Soils; Johannes Lehmann, Cornell assistant professor of crop and soils science; and Christopher Barrett, Cornell assistant professor of applied economics and management. Working with the team are scientists from the Kenyan Agricultural Research Institute and the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi. The project is funded by the Coupled Natural and Human Systems program of the National Science Foundation’s Biocomplexity initiative.

Blaine P. Friedlander Jr. | Cornell News
Further information:
http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Feb04/AAAS.Pell.bpf.html

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht Decoding the regulation of cell survival - A major step towards preventing neurons from dying
04.10.2018 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden

nachricht New Cluster of Excellence “Centre for Tactile Internet with Human-in-the-Loop” (CeTI)
28.09.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>