Early evidence on conservation farming in Zambia

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Ithaca, NY: Cornell University

Conservation farming practices such as minimium tillage, crop residue retention, precision input application, and nitrogen-fixing crop rotations offer some sustainable farming methods for Zambian smallholder farmers. These methods improve soil structure and water retention while increasing crop yields. In 2002/3 about 75,000 Zambian smallholder farmers implemented some of these methods and of these about 15,000 are spontaneous adopters. The remaining 60,000 practice the conservation methods as a condition for receiving their inputs. Adoption rates are highest in areas with sporadic rainfall, strong extension and input supply systems. Conservation farming appears promising although the benefits and problems will only become apparent over time.

Conservation agriculture, Soil degradation, Famine, Soil fertility, Conservation tillage, Agriculture, Conservation farming, Zambia, Nitrogen-fixing crop rotations, Crop residue retention, Precision input application, Farm/Enterprise Scale
Paper presented at the International Workshop on Reconciling Rural Poverty and Resource Conservation: Identifying Relationships and Remedies, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 2-3 May 2003