Managing Termites in Conservation Agriculture
Mike Salomons, Canadian Foodgrains Bank Agriculture & Livelihoods Technical Advisor
Over 1,000 different species of termites can be found across the continent of Africa! Termites are the longest living insects in the world, with some queens living as long as 50 years. The termite queen, king, soldiers, and workers live together in colonies, and most species feed on dead plant material like wood, leaf litter, or animal dung.
Termite activity has important benefits for ecosystem health and can help improve agricultural production by breaking soil surface crusts, increasing aeration and water infiltration. Some termites concentrate soil nutrients in their mounds, creating a source of fertility which can be used as an alternative to fertilizer or compost/manure. Finally, termites are an extremely nutritious food and are eaten by many groups across Africa.