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Restoring Synergy to Farms in Africa

Thirty-five years ago, with just one acre of land, a couple of seeds and a bucket of hope, one Nigerian-born scientist began his quest to trample famine on his continent. News of the drought across Africa in the early 1980s troubled Father Godfrey Nzamujo, then an expatriate priest and professor at the University of California, Irvine. Equipped with a microbiology PhD and his faith, he travelled back to Africa in search of a solution. Nzamujo began devising a “zero waste” agriculture system that would not only increase food security, but also help the environment and create jobs. In 1985, he traded in his professor post for gardening gloves and started his sustainable farm “Songhai” in the West African country of Benin. At the core of the idea of sustainable agriculture is designing farms that mimic the way natural ecosystems work. In addition to providing organic produce locally, Songhai employs 300 people daily. They harvest crops, tend to animals, oversee composting, or service the biogas digester — which turns chicken excrement into fuel.