Not from a scientific or academic perspective but from a development perspective.May be underselling the value of CA.Social development includes many aspects of rural development (education, access to credit, health, etc.) and more importantly civil society.
1. Zone 2 over 300mm, zone 3 250-300, zone 4 200-250, zone 5 less than 200
CA: perspectives from Salamieh district, Syria. Shinan Kassam
AGA KHAN FOUNDATIONConservation Agriculture: Perspectives from Salamieh district, Syria Shinan N. Kassam Baqir Lalani Bassil Al-Eter 5th World Congress of Conservation Agriculture Brisbane, Australia September 27th, 2011
CENTRAL MESSAGEConservation agriculture (CA) has a role,outside the realm of profitable agriculturalproduction practices, sensitive to a range ofenvironmental concerns and sustainability, toone of a catalyst for social development infragile rural environments.
Brief Profile of Salamieh District One of five districts within HamaGovernorate. Covers an area of about 5300sq km. Total population is estimated at 244 000. 40,000 households in the district spreadover 172 villages. Unemployment rate estimated at 30% ofthe population (more than 18 years old) . 65% of the population estimated to be underthe age of 25. Hama province Salamieh District 70% of the population earns less than $150per month.
BACKGROUND• Increased frequency of drought• Strong crop-livestock interactions• Regulatory response has been varied • Agro ecological zones defined but not updated in 50+ years; • Pricing policy for barley, wheat and other strategic crops; • Promises of water diversion schemes; • Subsidies for drip irrigation• Limited grass roots movements
OBSERVED RESPONSE• Numbers of groundwater wells continue to increase but so do the number of dry wells;• Increased adoption of ‘modernized’ irrigation where groundwater is still available but . . . ;• Decrease in the area of irrigated land;• Search for drought tolerant seed
UNCOVERING OPTIONS• Depends upon the nature of the objective(s);• Requires an exercise of rethinking agricultural research, agricultural education, public and private services to agriculture, and . . . agricultural policy;
PROPOSITIONSecure rural livelihoods in a fragile and watershort environment by expanding the set ofchoices, opportunities and access to public,private and environmental services.
CONSIDERATIONS •optimal crop mix? •water use efficiency •public policy supportUnder what land use management system?
• Zero tillage adoption on the rise in Syria;• Moving past zero tillage and into CA will require appropriate partnerships (research centres, MoA, farmers and development agencies) that share risks while proof of concept is achieved;• Institutionalization of a core philosophy through appropriate agricultural education and awareness;
• Need to engage in policy reform with the MoA and from within the MoA (civil society agenda);• Requires long term engagement and multiple inputs in order to secure livelihoods (social development agenda)…most donor funding cycles are too short or too narrow in focus.