Transcript of "Tailoring Conservation Agriculture to small farmers"
Tailoring Conservation Agriculture tothe Needs of Smallholder Farmers in Developing Countries: An Analysis of Issues. Patrick C. Wall CIMMYT MR International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
What is Conservation Agriculture?Comprises two basic components Surface crop residue retention Minimal soil movement
What is Conservation Agriculture?Plus other components essential toovercome problems that emergeonce crop residues are retained:• Crop rotation• (Green manure cover crops)
Benefits of Conservation Agriculture Increased water infiltration Reduced moisture evaporation Less water run-off and soil erosion Reduction in labor and energy use Less turn-around time between crops Reduction in production costs * Increases in soil organic matter * Increases in nutrient availability * Greater biological pest control * * Slower, cumulative benefits
Problems with Conservation Agriculture Mind-set. The paradigm of the plow! Weeds Nitrogen mineralization and fertilization Not adapted to soils with poor drainage Very dry areas?
Adoption of Conservation Agriculture Worldwide – estimated 95 million hectares (Derpsch, 2005) Mostly on large, mechanised farms Over 90% in the Americas and Australia
Adoption of Conservation Agriculture on Small Farms Brazil – approx 100,000 ha Ghana – 200,000 small farmers China? 2500 Est. 2000 Indo-Gangetic Plains. Hectares x 1000 1500 2 million ha of wheat 1000 in the rice-wheat 500 system. 0 98/99 99/00 00/01 01/02 02/03 03/04 04/05
Some Characteristics of Small Farmers Little access to financial capital Prioritize production of family food needs, with sale of produce in excess of these requirements. Risk averse Manage mixed crop/livestock systems Limited land resources (although this is often not their primary limiting factor) Rely on manual labor, animal traction and/or small tractors for draught power, although they may contract service providers (with larger equipment) for some activities
Some Characteristics of Small Farmers (contd.) Rely to a large degree on family members for hand labor. Have close community Have less formal education linkages with weaker links than large-scale commercial outside the community. farmers Often are situated in marginal areas with respect to rainfall and topography Often have precarious land tenure
An analysis of the patternsof adoption of zero tillage insix cases:• Brazil• Paraguay• Bolivia• Mexico• Indo-Gangetic plains• Ghana
Factors that Influence the Spread of Conservation Agriculture Mind-set Knowledge Research and extension systems Access to inputs and equipment Competition for crop residues Labor requirements Crop productivity Political issues
Mind-set Doing away with the culture of the plough Peer and community pressure
Knowledge - Management of CA Technologies Conservation Agriculture is more knowledge-intensive than input-intensive Success depends more on what the farmer does than on the inputs s/he applies Smallholder farmers have little access to knowledge systems outside the community Often their source of new agricultural information is from sporadic contact with extension agents Extension agents in developing countries are often poorly linked to knowledge and information systems
Knowledge - Remodeling Research and Extension Systems (1) Research and Extension Systems in the developing countries generally follow a linear model of knowledge development and flowResearchers conducting formal Researchers Farmersresearch in established institutions Extension agents Basic Strategic Applied Technology Adoption research research research transferKnowledge flow
Knowledge - Remodeling Research and Extension Systems (2) Although the principles of CA appear to have very wide applicability, the techniques and technologies to apply the principles are very site specific CA is a complex “technology” that involves changes in many aspects of the production system Research and extension systems cannot develop “packages” for all conditions.
Knowledge - Remodeling Research and Extension Systems (3) Machinery Manu- facturers For Complex Technologies, Multi- Input Extension Agent InnovationSuppliers (Change) Agents Systems are required. Innovative Farmers Participation of stakeholders is essential. Equipment Researchers Developers
Limited Access to Inputs CA may require more investment in purchased inputs, especially in the first years Smallholder farmers are willing to purchase and apply inputs if the risks are low - CA generally reduces the risk associated with crop production, especially due to drought Due to low volumes of demand and production, coverage of input and output markets may be poor Programs that help support and develop input and output markets are necessary
Access to Equipment Adequate equipment, especially for direct seeding, is a prerequisite for successful application of CA There is little private investment in the development of equipment for smallholder farmer
Access to Equipment (2) Dissemination of available equipment Participatory evaluation and modification Stimulation (support) of local manufacture
Competition for Crop Residues Competition is mainly for animal feed Animals are generally very important components of the production system Communal grazing rights often apply
Competition for Crop Residues (2) But surface crop residue retention is essential for the success of CA How much residue must be kept? 100 80Relative 60Erosion % 40 20 Cover % 20 40 60 80 2Residue 4 t/ha 6 Erenstein, 1997. Based on data of Shaxon et al., 1989, 8 Tripp and Barreto, 1993, and Kok and Thien, 1994.
Competition for Crop Residues (3) R0 Forage A0 C M R 0 Ground CoverBased on Sain, 1997
Competition for Crop Residues (3) R1 R0 Forage A1 A0 C M R R 0 1 Ground CoverBased on Sain, 1997
Competition for Crop Residues (3) R1 R0 Forage A1 A0 C M R R R 0 1 2 Ground CoverBased on Sain, 1997
Competition for Crop Residues (4)Possible solutions Concentrate inputs (progressively) on part of the farm Intensify the production system to include better quality forage Leave part or all of the low quality forage on the land Community awareness of the problems of land degradation
Competition for Crop Residues (5) Data of K. Sayre from central Mexico Grain Yield (kg/ha)8000600040002000 W-M, ZT, +Res. W-M, ZT, -Res. M-M, ZT, +Res. M-M, ZT, -Res. W-M, CT, +Res. W-M, CT, -Res. 0 1996 1997 1998 2000 2001 2002
Labor use and labor productivity The most important factor that has driven adoption on small farms In many cases crop productivity per unit of labor is more important than per unit of land Especially important where family size or health is declining100 km/ha (Ethiopia, Bolivia) 140,000 hoe strokes/ha/yr (Malawi)
Crop Productivity Under equal conditions CA may not give yield benefits CA allows more timely seeding – often a critical factor in achieving high yields Downside risk is generally lower with CA
Policy Aspects Land tenure Subsidies Land stewardship payments and environmental services