Speaking at the December 2009 SLP meeting in Addis Ababa, Michael Peters (CIAT), introduced a project in Nicaragua to study tradeoffs between using specific forage plants either as feeds for animals or for soil improvement and soil fertility maintenance.
The project explores three issues: feed for cows, soil fertility, and longer term sustainability. The aim of the research is for the farmer to go from a “no-win to a win-win situation.”
Peters emphasizes that the farmers themselves are aware of the tradeoffs and will sometimes aim for a production effect (for cattle), and at other times for an environmental effect (on their soils).
One interesting dimension is that “we as researchers have to caution sometimes the farmers not to be too enthusiastic” about the new technology they co-created…
See the presentation: