Conservation agriculture and sustainable crop intensification in Karatu District,Tanzania
Kassam, Amir H.
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The report/case study discusses the importance of agriculture in the Karatu district, the loss of agricultural productivity from soil and land degradation, how climate change jeopardizes small farmers in the district, and how conservation agriculture (CA) could significantly address problems of agricultural productivity. The study/intervention was focused on five villages in the Karatu district and was intended to strengthen the livelihood and food security of small farmers through protection of ecosystem services that would allow for sustainable crop production intensification. These CA practices and services were implemented through outreach, education and training with small Tanzanian farmers. Involved stakeholders were farmers, government actors, intentional institutions, and non-governmental organizations. As conservation agriculture practices were adopted, scientists examined fluctuations in how farmers generating income and the various concerns that ensued. Critical factors that enable successful intervention were outlined as the following: strong interaction between all stakeholders, problem analysis by local farmers, involvement of facilitators skilled in CA practices, and initial provision of resources needed to implement CA. Factors that discouraged implementation of CA practices were lack of needed resources; lack of CA experts, training, and policy; and lack of involvement of stakeholders. Authors of the report suggested that the district should have an explicit, national policy approach to conservation agriculture; collaboration should be strengthened to align goals and implementation efforts; various approaches to CA should be utilized to maximize participation in CA; resources needed to implement CA s should be reasonably priced and accessible to local farmers. The report concludes that CA efforts should be expanded through stronger linkages with extension officers and national governmental agencies. Also, food processing strategies could be utilized to add value to the increased production gains from CA.