A comparative study of conservation agriculture production systems (CAPS) for tribal people of Odisha, India
Tribal farming in Kendujhar district of Odisha, India is primarily based on traditional shifting cultivation which is becoming unsustainable - resulting in natural resources degradation, reduced production efficiency, and threatened food security. As maize (Zea mays L.) was the primary field crop grown by the tribal farmers, maize-based Conservation Agriculture Production Systems (CAPS) were taken as an innovative approach for conserving resources, enhancing productivity and sustaining livelihood through minimum soil disturbance, permanent organic soil cover, and adoption of diversified crop rotation. An on-station experiment was conducted in Kendujhar during June 2011 to March 2012 to estimate the effect of CAPS on yield and soil properties. The experiment was laid in a split plot design with four treatments and three replications. The treatment combinations comprised of two factors each at two levels: tillage (minimum and conventional), and cropping system (maize and maize+cowpea (Vigna unguiculata)). The maize seed yield both in conventional and minimum tillage were comparable, though it was highest in maize+cowpea under minimum tillage (5610 kg/ha). Maize+cowpea intercropping produced comparable seed yield (4955 kg/ha) to that of sole maize cropping (4825 kg/ha). As cowpea was an additional output without any reduction in maize seed yield and had high market value, maize+cowpea intercropping under minimum tillage recorded a highest net profit of $655/ha. Though there was no significant effect of CAPS on soil properties in the experimental year, it can be assessed over multiple years.