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Conservation Agriculture in Africa: Where Does It Fit?

The controversial debate among researchers about the suitability of conservation agriculture for smallholder farmers
in Africa continues while rural inhabitants in Africa face food insecurity and degrading resources. What is the role of
CIMMYT’s research on CA in Africa?

Conservation agriculture (CA) encompasses the principles of minimum soil disturbance, retention of crop residues on the
soil and diversification through crop rotations and associations. Worldwide, CA adoption exceeds 125 million hectares. Its benefits include reduced production costs and soil degradation, more effective and efficient use of resources like water and fertilizer, and greater overall cropping system productivity. CA-based practices have recently regained scientific attention as part of newly emerging concepts such as sustainable intensification, ecological intensification and climate-smart agriculture.

CIMMYT’s increasing efforts to promote CA in Sub-Saharan Africa began at a regional hub in southern Africa in 2004, moved to eastern Africa in 2009, and subsequently expanded to other Africa locations. In Africa, conservation agriculture has benefitted from significant donor attention and the call to address multiple agricultural challenges,which include the pressure of expanding populations on land resources, declining soil fertility, low productivity, and the negative effects of climate variability.


Courtesy of Frederic Baudron