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This project has been on my radar for some time, although they apparently have been too busy to answer their email.
Reading this summary of their work is enlightening in good and bad ways. On the plus side, it is nice to know that the UN wallahs have found the biochar can help with a number of big problems. It is also good to hear that several scientific papers, reports and conferences were generated by this multi-year, costly effort.
On the other hand, what is really striking to me is that while the Ethiopian results are the same as those of the Warm Heart Ghana, plant-to-plant tests (40% yield increases), no attention seems to have been paid to extension. I have a younger brother and sister from Ethiopia, both of whom spend considerable time in-country, and neither were aware of this project. Likewise, in Kenya, we run 5 biochar training centers and collaborate with Kiisumu University. None of us have heard mention of this project from farmers.
Our concern is, or rather, continues to be, that the developed world scientific, funding and governing bodies are more interested in biochar as a technical "problem" than as a worldly solution (and, yes, I do understand that biochar is highly complex). But there is more at play here than just the continued ignoring of the global poor. My team members response to this summary sums up a feeling that is, I think, fairly wide spread in rural Africa, "They don't care about us. We are just here to do the digging for their research."
My team members and the farmers they work with are, of course, way too poor to speak up or to refuse the work when offered, but the bitterness is tangible, as is the talk about what the colonialists at least offered in return.
None of this will make any difference and I know that I am becoming a caricature grumpy old man on this theme, but really. The only good thing to say about the whole mess is that it makes my work so much easier!
On Thu, Jan 16, 2020 at 10:16 AM Tom Miles <tmiles@...> wrote: