OSLO, Sept 7 (Reuters) - African farmers are finding new ways to cope with droughts, erosion and other ravages of climate change but need to develop even more techniques to thrive in an increasingly uncertain environment, scientists said on Friday.
"The good news is that a lot of farmers are making changes," said Patti Kristjanson, who heads a programme on climate change, agriculture and food security at the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi and led the study.
"So it's not all doom and gloom ... but much more needs to be done," she told Reuters.
Farmers, backed by researchers and international donors, needed to find better ways to store rain water, increase the use of manure and bring in hardier crops like sweet potatoes, she said.
In the past decade, 55 percent of households surveyed said they had taken up faster-growing crop varieties, mainly of maize, and 56 percent had adopted at least one drought-tolerant variety, according to the findings in the journal Food Security.
Fifty percent of the households were planting trees on their farms - helping to combat erosion, increase water and soil quality and bring in new crops like nuts.
Half of the farmers had introduced inter-cropping - planting alternate rows of, for instance of beans and maize, in the same field and then swapping the rows next season. Beans fix nitrogen in the soil, helping reduce the need for fertilisers.
But Friday's study found just a quarter of farmers were using manure or compost - avoiding the use of more expensive fertilisers. And only 10 percent were storing water, it added.
The study said that global warming, leading to erosion, less reliable rainfall and changes in the length of growing seasons, was adding to other stresses for farmers worldwide such as price spikes and a rising population. More