Planting perennials may be the answer for smallholder African farmers struggling to enrich their soils while also increasing food production. Perennials are plants that have a life span of two years or more, and scientists argue that they can restore soils, reduce the need for fertilizer, and triple yields of maize in four to five years. The explanation behind this is that perennials, like trees and pigeon peas, develop longer roots which help the plants reach water and nutrients deep in the earth, and makes them more impervious to drought. The roots and falling leaves of perennials also contribute nutrients to the soil. In addition to contributing to soil health, there are other benefits of planting perennials. They are sustainable, they can be used firewood, some can help control pests.
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