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FAO Launches African Crop Calendar
In November, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) launched a new crop calendar for 43 African countries that advises farmers about which crops to plant and when according to agricultural zone.
Aimed at donors, agencies, government extension workers and NGOs, the web-based tool covers more than 130 crops from beans to beets and watermelon to wheat.
“Seeds are critical for addressing the dual challenges of food insecurity and climate change,” said Shivaji Pandey, Director of FAO’s Plant Production and Protection Division. “The right choice of crops and seeds is crucial both for improving the livelihoods of the rural poor and hungry and for dealing with climate change. To be able to make that choice, you have to make sure seeds and planting materials are available and accessible at the right place and at the right time.”
FAO notes that the crop calendar will be especially useful in case of an emergency such as drought or floods or for rehabilitation efforts following a natural or manmade disaster. The crop calendar covers 283 agro-ecological zones, representing the vast richness and variety of the African ecology as well as challenges of land degradation, sand encroachment and floods.
FAO also notes that an estimated 50 percent of the global increase in yields over the past ten years has come from improving the quality of seeds. The other 50 percent has come from better water management and irrigation.
Visit the FAO Crop Calendar.