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Initiating sustainable agricultural systems through CA in Mozambique: preliminary experiences from SIMLESA.
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Initiating sustainable agricultural systems through CA in Mozambique: preliminary experiences from SIMLESA.


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A presentation made at the WCCA 2011 event in Brisbane, Australia.

A presentation made at the WCCA 2011 event in Brisbane, Australia.

Published in: Education, Technology

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  • 1. Initiating Sustainable Agricultural Systems Through Conservation Agriculture in Mozambique: Preliminary Experiences from SIMLESA Dias, D.J 1 , Nyagumbo, I 2* and Nhantumbo, N.S 3 , Tomo, A 4 Instituto de Investiga ç ão Agr á ria de Mo ç ambique (IIAM) [email_address] CIMMYT, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre, Box MP163, Mt. Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe, [email_address] ; Instituto Superior Polit é cnico de Manica, Faculdade de Agricultura, [email_address]
  • 2.  
  • 3. Contents of the presentation
    • Introduction
    • Materials and Methods
    • Results and Discussions
    • - Implementation
    • Challenges encountered
    • Future Outlook
  • 4. 1. Introduction
    • Mozambique is a Southern African country with an estimated population of 21 million people
    • Poverty levels are high and literacy levels are estimated to be around 48 % (AGRA-JIMAT, 2010)
    • On average only 4.9 % of arable land area (36 million ha) is cultivated
    • Major crops are maize (78% households), cassava (34.3%), groundnut (22%) , pigeon pea (18.9%) and cowpea (10.9% households)
  • 5. Introduction
    • Mozambique has almost 85% of the rural population practicing low external input subsistence agricultural systems
    • The use of conservation agriculture and adoption of best practices has a strong potential to boost yields and sustain food security.
    • CA promoted in Mozambique since the late 1990s by Sassakawa Global 2000 and others but still a long way to go for meaningful adoption.
  • 6. Contd.
    • CIMMYT, IIAM and other partners since August 2010, have been implementing SIMLESA, a research initiative aimed at promoting a sustainable intensification of maize–legume cropping systems for food security in Eastern and Southern Africa.
    • Objective of this paper is to highlight experiences gathered during this first season of implementation focussing on the successes, challenges, lessons learnt and insights on the future.
  • 7. Materials and Methods
    • Exploratory CA trials were established in 6 communities distributed within three provinces (Manica, Tete and Sofala) of Mozambique (see map). A criteria for selection was based on attributes such as:
    • Agro-ecology,
    • Accessibility,
    • Potential to boost yields using CA,
    • Potential for maize legume systems
    • Availability of secondary data including meteorological data.
  • 8. Testing sites Angonia (R10) (Communities of Ciphole and Cabango) Sussundenga (R4) Community of Sussundeng-sede R10: Community of Rotanda Manica (R10&R4) Community of Chinhadombwe) Gorongoza (R4) Community of Canda-sede )
  • 9. The process
    • 1 week CA training for ext staff on CA concepts and principles
    • Community awareness meetings
    • Election of 6 trial host farmers per community using secret ballots after agreeing on key attributes for hosts
    • CA initiatives were supervised and monitored by the local extension staff.
  • 10. The process Contd……. .
    • Farmers consulted on maize-legume treatments in each community during community awareness meetings
    • Small survey carried out to profile host farmers in July/Aug 2011.
  • 11. Results and Discussions
  • 12. Perceptions of host farmers regarding what they think were reasons for being selected to host trials Reason for being selected Frequency Percent hard worker 18 51 ability to run trials and experience from other trials 8 23 s/he is trustworthy 2 6 very active/ willing to learn/ good fields 7 20
  • 13. Previous experience hosting other trials 28.6 % have never participated in any research trials before 71.4 % have hosted other research/ extension trials before
  • 14. Table 2. Key attributes of trial host farmers Variable Mean Standard deviation Period of residence in the community (yrs) 35.1 17.5 Family size ( no. of persons) 8 3.4 Age of household head (years) 45.5 12.7 No. of years in school (years) 6 3.3 Contribution of labour in own farm 84.3 31.2 Land size (ha) 4.8 3.6
  • 15. Gender characteristics of hosts
    • The selection to host trials differed from site to site and depended very much on cultural habits with some gender biases.
    • In Manica and Tete sites, the process was more supportive of women with one to three women being selected to host trials per site and an average of two women participating in CA committees (Table 3).
  • 16. Table 3: Gender characteristics of CA trial host farmers and research committees by community Province/District Farmers selected to host trials by community Farmers in Local Research Committees Total Male Female Male Female Sofala: Gorongosa-Canda 6 0 5 0 11 Manica: Chinhadombwe 5 1 3 2 11 Manica: Sussundenga Sede 5 1 3 2 11 Manica: Sussundenga-Rotanda 5 1 2 3 11 Tete: Angonia-Cabango 3 3 3 2 11 Tete:Angonia-Chiphole 5 1 2 3 11
  • 17. Contd.
    • In contrast, in Gorongosa no women featured on any role!
    • Although meant to ensure ownership and identification with the project the approach in some situations e.g. Gorongosa, led to selection of the same people already hosting trials from other initiatives.
  • 18. Contd.
    • This problem only corrected after lengthy discussions.
    • Research committees selected to manage the trials were also completely dysfunctional in some communities but very instrumental in others.
  • 19. Contd.
    • Farmers were motivated by the resources availed to them through the project such as inputs and equipment (Jab planters, direct seeders) which they considered as very useful tools due to their ability to make the sowing easier and less time consuming.
    • There were complaints over bad functionality, unavailability on the local market and the high cost of the equipment were major constraints to famers interested in adopting the initiatives
  • 20. Implementation:
    • The initiative found that success on implementation starkly depended on:
    • Motivation of the local extension worker as well as the interest of the local farmers.
    • The quality of CA implemented, highly depended on the extension workers knowledge, motivation, resources put at their disposal and their workload or commitment to other initiatives .
    • The existence of other projects with different approaches also led to confusion among both the extension staff and farmers.
  • 21.     Quality of CA management     Site No. of farmers % applying residues by flowering stage Weed management by mid Season Maize average yield (kg/ha) Quality of Extension support Chiphole 6 100 1 excellent, 2 good; 3 average 3371 Very good Kabango 6 83 1 very good; 3 good; 1 average; 1 poor 4384 Very good Sussundenga 6 83 3 excellent; 2 average, 1 late planted 1997 Very good Rotanda 6 100 2 good, 3 average, 1 late planted 2458 average Gorongosa 6 83 2 good, 2 average, 2 very bad 1075 average Manica 5 20 1 excellent, 4 very bad 2198 Poor
  • 22. Exploratory trials achievements so far
    • Rainfall : Rainfall recording erratic in most situations.
    • Generally legumes were lost in most communities
    • Socio-economic data poorly collected eg labour,
    Community Trials established Trials harvested % Success rate Manica 6 5 80% Sussundenga 6 6 100% Rotanda 6 6 100% Gorongosa 6 6 100 % Kabango 6 5 80% Chiphole 6 6 100%
  • 23. Challenges encountered:
    • The first six months of implementation revealed complex challenges:
    • The unavailability of residues
    • Termite infestation was also a deterrent to residue application for example in Manica.
    • Weed management also proved a serious challenge with some farmers calling for the use of pre-emergence herbicides in addition to glyphosate while others avoided hand/hoe weeding on plots treated with herbicides.
  • 24. Contd.
    • Jab planters and direct seeders were considered very useful tools provided they were properly manufactured.
    • Training of extension agents/ farmers was also another challenge with some lacking hands-on practical experience.
  • 25. Future Outlook
    • Extension agents should be very well trained to understand the concepts and practices of CA.
    • The project should also consider using farmers from previous projects that succeeded in using CA to train other farmers.
    • Exchange visits were an effective dissemination and training tool equipping them with practical skills based on ‘seeing is believing’.
    • Efforts to be taken to reach more farmers by working with other partner organizations through I nnov P lats.
    • Improve regular monitoring and assistance to frontline implementation teams
  • 26. Summary
    • SIMLESA has made a good start in Moambique and there is potential to move forward as we build on previous experience from the farmers
    • Lessons learnt from the first season on gender imbalances and other key drivers for success will be used to inform future programming of activities in the next season and beyond.
    • The SIMLESA framework could provide an effective framework for scaling up technologies