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Conservation Agriculture: A
sustainable practice for Africa’s
agriculture.
Knott, S. Hoffman, W. Vink, N.
What is Conservation Agriculture
• Conservation agriculture is not a single specific technology,
rather it is a concept de...
Key Drivers
• Declining world commodity margins
• Ground water pollution and soil degradation
• Herbicides
• Reduced input...
Benefits of CA
• Reduced erosion and environmental degradation
• Improved soil structure and biology
• Improved soil moist...
Challenges of CA
• Changing the Farmers Mind Set
• Farming – a high risk business
• Path dependence
• Differing Soil and C...
Area (ha) under CA by continent, as percentage of total 117 million
hectares worldwide
Source: FAO Aquastat, 2014
South Am...
USA and Canada
• 1930’s Mid West, ‘Great Dust Bowl”
• Adoption slow due to weed infestations
• 1960’s development of herbi...
Latin America Brazil,
25502
Argentina,
25553
Bolivia,
706
Chile,
180
Colombia,
127
Mexico, 41
Paraguay,
2400
Uruguay,
655....
Australasia
• 1970’s concerns of wind and water erosion
• 1970’s and 80’s, increased government legislation
with emphasis ...
Europe
• European administrations are still not fully
convinced that the concept of CA is the most
promising one to meet t...
Asia
• 1970’s Punjab University began trials on no-till
for timely rice sowing
• Development of site specific implements
•...
Sub Saharan Africa
• First trials in Zimbabwe and South Africa,
1970’s
• Increased labour when herbicides poorly
applied (...
Conclusions
• The challenge of feeding a growing world population
from limited resources can only be met by the efficient
...
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Conservation Agriculture a sustainable practice for africa’s agriculture.

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Conservation Agriculture a sustainable practice for Africa’s Agriculture.

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Conservation Agriculture a sustainable practice for africa’s agriculture.

  1. 1. Conservation Agriculture: A sustainable practice for Africa’s agriculture. Knott, S. Hoffman, W. Vink, N.
  2. 2. What is Conservation Agriculture • Conservation agriculture is not a single specific technology, rather it is a concept developed to encompass a number of technologies directed to improved land husbandry in a sustainable manner • Conservation Agriculture: ‘…an approach to managing agro-ecosystems for improved and sustained productivity, increased profits and food security while preserving and enhancing the resource base and the environment. CA is characterised by three linked principles, namely: • Continuous minimum mechanical soil disturbance. • Permanent organic soil cover. • Diversification of cover crop species grown in sequence and/or associations” (FAO, 2013).
  3. 3. Key Drivers • Declining world commodity margins • Ground water pollution and soil degradation • Herbicides • Reduced input costs
  4. 4. Benefits of CA • Reduced erosion and environmental degradation • Improved soil structure and biology • Improved soil moisture retention • Higher soil Carbon levels • Increased yields • Reduced input costs (low external input) • Reduced CO2 emissions (reduced use of fossil fuels) • Long term sustainability both environmental and economic
  5. 5. Challenges of CA • Changing the Farmers Mind Set • Farming – a high risk business • Path dependence • Differing Soil and Climatic Conditions • Lack of Long term support for farmers
  6. 6. Area (ha) under CA by continent, as percentage of total 117 million hectares worldwide Source: FAO Aquastat, 2014 South America, 55 464 100, 43% North America, 43 090 000, 34% Australia & New Zealand, 17 162 000, 13% Asia, 4 742 200, 4% Europe, 6 451 900, 5% Africa, 993 740, 1% Progression on CA In 1973/74 CA was used on 2.8million ha worldwide, growing to about 45 million ha in 1999 (Derpsch, 2001), 72 million ha 2003 (Benites, et al., 2003) and to 117 million ha by 2010 (FAO 2010)
  7. 7. USA and Canada • 1930’s Mid West, ‘Great Dust Bowl” • Adoption slow due to weed infestations • 1960’s development of herbicides, Atrazine • Over supply of local market post Wars • Mechanisation and economies of size • Federal Government conservation Policies USA, 26500 Canada, 16590
  8. 8. Latin America Brazil, 25502 Argentina, 25553 Bolivia, 706 Chile, 180 Colombia, 127 Mexico, 41 Paraguay, 2400 Uruguay, 655.1 Venezuela, 300 • 1960’s Government Policy on soya’s lead to soil degradation • 1980’s academics and farmer groups adopt conservation agriculture is response to environmental degradation • Extension services: Rolf Derpsch • Efficient diffusion of the technology through the many farmer organisations • Manufacturing companies seized the opportunity to develop and distribute no-till equipment • MERCOSUR countries (southern common market Comprising of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Bolivia) 0 20 40 60 1987 1997 2007 Area of land under No-till Farming practices in MERCOSUR countries. MERCOSUR USA
  9. 9. Australasia • 1970’s concerns of wind and water erosion • 1970’s and 80’s, increased government legislation with emphasis on custodianship of the land • 80% No-till adoption in the majority of regions by 2013 • main drivers for Australia; reduced fuel and labour costs at seeding, soil conservation, and soil moisture management • Government policy; rebate on the 15% tax paid on agricultural equipment specific to CA Australia, 17000 New Zealand, 162
  10. 10. Europe • European administrations are still not fully convinced that the concept of CA is the most promising one to meet the requirements of an environmentally friendly farming • Over supply post World Wars 1960’s • Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) promote conservation and environmental Stewardship Finland France Germany Hungary Ireland ItalyNetherland s PortugalMoldova Russian Federation Slovakia Spain Switzerland Ukraine UK
  11. 11. Asia • 1970’s Punjab University began trials on no-till for timely rice sowing • Development of site specific implements • Positive government policies in India, China, and Kazakhstan • Good extensive services and traveling seminars • Adoption is still lagging due to rice culture of ploughing China, 3100 DRP Korea, 23 Kazakhsta n, 1600 Lebanon, 1.2Syria, 18
  12. 12. Sub Saharan Africa • First trials in Zimbabwe and South Africa, 1970’s • Increased labour when herbicides poorly applied (back breaking work) • No government policy support. Promoted by NGO’s on a short term basis • When NGO program ends, farmers revert back to old practices • Commercial adoption higher due to mechanisation • Recent increased adoption in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique Ghana, 30 Kenya, 33.1Lesotho, 2 Madagasca r, 6Malawi, 16 Mozambique, 152 Namibia,0.34 South Africa, 368 Sudan, 10 Tunisia, 8 Tanzania, 25 Zambia, 200 Zimbabwe, 139.3 Mozambique 152,000 South Africa 368,000 Lesotho 2,000 Madagascar 6,000 Zimbabwe 139,300 Zambia 200,000 Tanzania 25,000 Kenya 33,100 Sudan and South Sudan 10,000 Namibia 340 Malawi 16,000 Ghana 30,000
  13. 13. Conclusions • The challenge of feeding a growing world population from limited resources can only be met by the efficient use of the natural resources • The reality of all new technology is that it is adopted when it holds economic value and is socially acceptable, seldom when it is solely environmentally friendly • Conservation Agriculture provides the most holistic approach to a sustainable management system of agricultural land • The difficulty in adoption lies in the mind-set of the farmer, a lack of knowledge of how best to adopt the concept, availability of adequate machinery and herbicides, and the potential short-term loss of income and lag time of results

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