Conservation agriculture systems for Malawian smallholder farmers: Long-term effects on crop productivity, profitability

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Cambridge University Press


Conservation Agriculture systems seek to increase crop yield, recycle nutrients, and minimize production costs through crop residue retention, inter-cropping, and crop rotation. The study seeks to clarify how Conservation Agriculture influences farming profits, soil health, and crop productivity in two areas in Malawi - the drier farming village of Lemu of Bazale Extension Planning Area and in the high-rainfall farming village of Zidyana Extension Planning Area. The study also seeks to supplement lacking agronomic research in the identified areas. While both regions have different soil conditions, they both revealed marked improvements in crop yield, soil quality, water infiltration capacity, and improved economic profits with the adoption of conservation agriculture. However, cultural beliefs concerning agriculture pose an impediment to the widespread adoption of conservation agriculture in the region.


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Nutrient recycling, Conservation agriculture, Soil quality, No-till, Maize yield, Net returns, Residue retention, Infiltration, Biological activity, Herbicides, Ecosystem


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