Researchers have determined that earthworms contribute approximately 6.5% to cereal production (corn, wheat, barley) and about 2.3% to legume production. Their study, published in the journal “Nature Communications,” emphasizes the importance of these creatures and the risks associated with intensive fertilization.
The researchers measured the impact of earthworms on soil health and plant growth to highlight their beneficial interaction, which includes:
– Enhanced water absorption capacity.
– Recycling and production of nutrients.
– Production of growth hormones.
The conclusion is that there is a link between earthworms and productivity, and this connection is even more pronounced in Southern countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where earthworms influence cereal production by approximately 10%.
This study serves as a reminder of two essential elements in favor of sustainable agriculture:
1. Earthworms play a role in food production by acting as a biodiversity lever.
2. Preserving them requires reducing the application of chemical inputs to crops and minimizing intensive tillage of their habitat.
Agroecological practices that contribute to preserving fauna, flora, and biodiversity in general provide alternative solutions to conventional agricultural practices.
According to Steven Fonte, a co-author of the study, it is essential to guide farmers toward this agroecological transition and encourage the use of natural fertilizers like compost, which are both eco-friendly and nutritious.