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Letting cattle graze on crop fields can aid soil health

11 August 2020

Smallholders in Zimbabwe have found a new way to restore soils that have deteriorated after decades of mechanical ploughing and pesticide use.

According to reporting in The Herald and All Africa, smallholders living in Chinyika village in Zimbabwe are driving cattle onto their crop fields and enclosing them for at least 7 days in a bid to rejuvenate the soil.

Dr Paul Muchineripi, a conservation expert working in the community, believes that the cattle are able to loosen hardened soil with their hooves. They can also enrich the soil and improve water retention by dropping their wastes in the fields.

Muchineripi explained that villagers have moved their cattle together to create a community herd. They then put the cattle in a certain area of the crop field for seven days before moving it to a different part of the field. Smallholders hope that this method will improve the organic matter in the soil and help boost crop yields instead of relying on chemical fertilisers.

Zimbabwe has an ongoing issue with declining soil health. In recent years, restoration efforts have ramped up and smallholders are becoming more engaged with holistic farming practices.

Read more about this story in The Herald.


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