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04/25/2022 | Pressemitteilung

Shrubs against hunger: project improves farming and animal husbandry in the Sahel

The Sahel is known for severe droughts, which will increase due to climate change. Feeding the population will become a challenge, famine is already a problem today. The international project "SustainSAHEL" with the participation of the University of Kassel wants to find a remedy.

The idea of the project is to optimize local food production in order to improve soil quality and yields and increase the resilience of crops to climate change. For example, growing woody plants in fields can improve the availability of water. Yield increases of up to 800 percent could be possible in this way. In addition, the use of deciduous forages can improve animal nutrition and animal health, leading to an increase in livestock production.

Seven agricultural study sites are being established in Senegal, Burkina Faso and Mali. Together with farmer associations and extension services, as well as farmer communities, "SustainSAHEL"builds on related projects. Existing practices will be reviewed and the development of new practices will be facilitated. Local stakeholders will be closely involved in all phases.

Contribution of the University of Kassel

The University of Kassel is participating with the Department of Animal Husbandry in the Tropics and Subtropics and the Department of Organic Crop Production and Agroecosystem Research in the Tropics and Subtropics. The foliage of shrubs and trees is being studied as animal food and for soil improvement. Thus, it is determined which shrubs best meet the nutritional needs of animals, are beneficial to health, improve fertilizer, and reduce emissions. The scope of research ranges from individual animals to multiple herds in the landscape and from farm manure storage to the field.

The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) Switzerland is coordinating the project with 18 partners from ten African and European countries. It is funded under Horizon 2020, the European Union's framework program for research and innovation.

PD Dr. Regina Rößler
University of Kassel
Animal Husbandry in the Tropics and Subtropics
Tel. 05542 98-1607
E-mail: regina.roessler[at]uni-kassel[dot]de

Dr. Andreas Gebhardt
University of Kassel
Communication, Press and Public Relations
Tel. 0561 804-1961
E-Mail: Presse[at]uni-kassel[dot]de