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Conservation Farming & Conservation Agriculture in Zambia – an update with emphasis on Faidherbia Albida

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Conservation Farming & Conservation Agriculture in Zambia – an update with emphasis on Faidherbia Albida

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Conservation Farming & Conservation Agriculture in Zambia – an update with emphasis on Faidherbia Albida

  1. 1. Conservation Farming Unit Conservation Farming & Conservation Agriculture in Zambia – An Update With emphasis on Faidherbia albida
  2. 2. The Conservation Agriculture Programme 2nd generation programme to extend adoption of CF/CA in Zambia • Period 2007 to 2011 • Financing by Norwegian Government • Extension Beneficiaries 140,000 • Technology Delivery ‘Lead Farmer System’ • Goal 240,000 farmers adopt by 2011
  3. 3. Region 111 Rainfall 1000-1200mm Miombo woodland Region 11a Rainfall 800-850mm Maize Production Belt Zambia’s plateau’s Region 11b Rainfall 800-900mm Zambezi floodplains Region 1 Rainfall 700-750mm Low altitude river valleys Rainfall Monomodal Late Nov to Mid March
  4. 4. CAP Operational Areas Most of Agro-ecological Region 11a Zambia’s Maize & Cotton Production Belt 40% of Zambia’s rural population Western Region Southern Region Central Region Eastern Region
  5. 5. Size of Zambia: 75,261,400 hectares Arable Land With Good to Moderate Potential: 9.0 million hectares (12%) Arable Land Cropped 1.5 million hectares Rural Population 1,140,000 farming families A Few statistics about Zambia
  6. 6. Zambia’s Agricultural Potential Zambia enjoys considerable advantages over many of its neighbours: • No land pressure – only 16% utilised • Political stability • Good soils and in general reliable rainfall
  7. 7. If this is the case -  Why are rural families so often food insecure?  Why does food relief feature so prominently in Zambia?  Why is productivity so low?  Why do marginally adverse season cause widespread crop failure?  Why isn’t Zambia a large exporter of agricultural commodities? Zambia’s Agricultural Potential
  8. 8. Low Maize Yields Some Inconvenient Facts Number of Households Growing Crops 1,146,000 Total Maize Production Tons 988,000 Area Planted to Maize Ha 877,000 Area Harvested Ha 504,570 Area Abandoned Ha 372,700 (42%) Yield of Area Committed to Maize Tons/Ha 1.13 Area abandoned over past 8 seasons Ha 1,712,000 (32%) Percentage of farmers not using fertiliser 69% Percentage of Maize growers not selling Maize 73% CSO/MACO/MSU Crop Forecast Survey Data 2002 - 2008
  9. 9. Conventional Small-Scale Farming in Zambia’s Maize and Cotton Belts Medium term consequences of Tillage Systems OX PLOUGHING
  10. 10. September: Residues raked up and burnt. Soil totally exposed to early storms and sheet erosion
  11. 11. September: The atmosphere is full of colloids and Zambia can hardly be seen from the air even at low altitude. Carbon Emissions
  12. 12. Soil is all turned over and exposed. Seeding depth and emergence are very uneven. If the rains stop ploughing stops until the rains come back. By this time the first plot needs weeding. What to do next? November: Farmers lucky enough to own oxen plough after early rains.
  13. 13. November: The results of storm flow Ploughing and soil erosion
  14. 14. Compact layer at about 12-14cms Ploughing and Compaction
  15. 15. Continuously ploughed land abandoned to Couch (Cynodon dactylon) Ploughing and pernicious weeds
  16. 16. CONVENTIONAL HOE TILLAGE
  17. 17. In eastern Zambia and Malawi farmers split ridges in the dry season. Hoe pans form under the ridges. 700 million + tons of soil moved yearly by hand! Ridge Splitting
  18. 18. Ridges often aligned down the slope. Furrows concentrate rainfall and wash top soil away. Severe erosion In the north of Zambia ridge splitting is done after the rains. These soils are particularly fragile and acidify rapidly when disturbed.
  19. 19. Due to population pressure in Malawi farmers have occupied hillsides. Ridges are breached after heavy storms producing massive soil loss and gully erosion Storm flow - ridge culture Malawi
  20. 20. Denuded Hillside – Malawi
  21. 21. This practice is less common but also exposes the soil to erosion and creates compaction. Hard unnecessary work! Overall Digging
  22. 22. CONVENTIONAL MECHANISED TILLAGE
  23. 23. Dry season ploughing. Destroying Class A1 soils in Chisamba. Diesel consumption ploughing 35 to 40 litres/ha.
  24. 24. Dry season discing at GART Diesel consumption 15litres/ha.
  25. 25. CONVENTIONAL TILLAGE SYSTEMS AND THE THREAT OF CLIMATE CHANGE
  26. 26. Conventional Tillage Systems increase Climatic Risks In Drier Seasons Panned soils stunt root development causing severe moisture stress. Rainfall cannot infiltrate the soil and washes away
  27. 27. In Wetter Seasons. Compacted soils cause water logging from impeded drainage Conventional Tillage Systems increase Climatic Risks
  28. 28. Conventional Tillage Environmental Consequences
  29. 29. Nutrient Depletion An aerial survey of Southern Province after the 1991/2 drought showed that 95% of land farmed by smallholders was occupied by Maize.  No mixed cropping, no rotations.  Continuous soil disturbance, erosion, land degradation  Loss of organic matter and soil structure.  Low pH – Acidity. In 1933 British ecological survey of Southern Province first raised concerns regarding excessive erosion!
  30. 30. A 3.5 ton/ha Maize crop extracts the equivalent of 275kgs/ha of combined basal and nitrogenous fertiliser, but 69% of smallholders use no fertiliser at all, on soils that are already degraded and less responsive. Nutrient Depletion
  31. 31. Many farmers occupy far more land than they crop. Part of the farm is degraded. It is abandoned and may be re-occupied after several years Partial Degradation – Reversion to Scrub
  32. 32. Land degradation occurs gradually and we seldom notice the early symptoms Here it is too late. 10cms or 1,000 tons of top soil per hectare has been lost. Even the toughest weeds struggle to grow.
  33. 33. In Zambia many thousands of hectares of formerly productive land have been degraded and permanently abandoned Terminal Degradation
  34. 34. When soils are exhausted farmers migrate and encroach primary or rejuvenated woodland to exploit accumulated fertility Deforestation – Zambia 2nd highest per capita in world? If you can afford fertiliser cut trees and mine out natural fertility
  35. 35. Fertiliser Price Trends US$ Per Ton - Lusaka Year 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Urea 315 385 455 520 540 1300 D Compound 315 390 400 510 550 1770 Escalating Fertiliser Prices Fertiliser prices went crazy in 2008 They will fall back but how much? Is there a connection between increasing fertiliser prices & deforestation? Ministry of Agriculture subsidised fertiliser programme very costly and inefficient . Productive (CF) farmers marginalised. There must be ‘smarter’ ways to deliver subsidised fertiliser?
  36. 36. Farmers compensate for lack of fertiliser by planting larger areas than they can manage. They hope for the best and then abandon the crop. Excessive areas planted to Maize
  37. 37. OX PLOUGHING AND LATE PLANTING – A UNIVERSAL MENACE
  38. 38. Late Planting The negative effects of late planting of Maize and other crops have been known for at least 80 years Maize: 1.5% of yield lost for each day of delay from 1st opportunity to plant Cotton: 2.0% of yield loss for each day of delay Yet in Zambia thousands of farmers especially those who rely on ploughing are always late!
  39. 39. Late Planting Since the mid 80’s cattle herds have been decimated by Corridor disease and recently CBPP. This has happened due to the collapse of dipping services and inadequate control over stock movements. Over the past 25 years, the number of farmers owing oxen has shrunk from 180,000 to under 60,000 This means that oxen hire for ploughing has become very commonplace in Zambia’s Maize belts
  40. 40. Our farmers are locked into systems that guarantee failure year after year – Yield Zero Mr Mwanja with hired oxen. Ploughing Dec 15th 2007. First planting rains Nov 19th.
  41. 41. Late Ploughing. Another food relief candidate?
  42. 42. Maureen hired oxen to plough. The owner was busy, she only managed to plant on the 28th December. The first opportunity to plant occurred on the 19th November. Before even starting she has lost 59% of her potential yield!
  43. 43. A return visit to Maureen’s field shows an abandoned crop which did not even pay back the cost of hired oxen and labour for weeding. 28th March 2007
  44. 44. NOV MM DEC MM Net Loss 10 0.0 1 0 Final Yield 11 0.0 2 0 12 0.0 3 0 13 0.0 4 0 14 18.3 5 0 15 5.8 6 0 16 0.0 7 0 17 0.0 8 0 18 21.5 9 25.4 19 2.6 10 11.7 20 0.0 11 0 32.0% 21 0.0 12 22.5 22 1.0 13 0 35.0% 23 0.3 14 0 36.5% 24 6.9 15 0 38.0% 25 0.2 16 24.9 26 0.0 17 29.7 27 0.0 18 0.2 42.5% 28 0.0 19 0 44.0% 29 0.0 20 2.1 45.5% 30 0.0 21 16.5 2006-7: EFFECT OF LATE PLANTING ON NATIONAL MAIZE CROP Rainfall – Magoye TAS 2006/7 GART data shows the same rainfall pattern, so did Choma, Pemba, Mapanza and most of the line of rail and Eastern Province
  45. 45. Average Planting Date Maize: December 18th National Small-scale Crop: 1,104,000 tons Potential Planting Date Maize: November 20th National Small-scale Crop 1,567,680 tons National Loss Just on Planting Date Tons 463,000 Value US$56,000,000 Effect of Late Planting – The National Maize Crop 2006/7
  46. 46. Conservation Farming – Principles and Benefits Basic Principles:-  Dry season land preparation  Residue retention to the extent possible  Reduced tillage (Min-till or Zero-till)  Rotations and crop diversification CF enables farmers to:-  Dry season land prep, flatten labour peak, plant on time, save land prep. costs  Reduce run-off & soil erosion  Harvest early rainfall  Measure and apply nutrients more accurately and efficiently  Achieve more rapid and even crop emergence  Sequence weeding in a more timely manner (flatten labour peaks)  Improve physical and chemical properties of soils in planting zone  Increase yields, reduce costs and increase profit margins  Farm the same land in perpetuity
  47. 47. Hoe Min-Till CF Permanent Planting Basins. Only 12% of surface area disturbed. Refer to CFU Hoe Handbook for many more details
  48. 48. Hoe Min-Till CF Land preparation can commence in June, spreading labour inputs. In Zambia rains normally commence in late November
  49. 49. Some examples of Hoe CF
  50. 50. Some examples of Hoe CF
  51. 51. Some examples of Hoe CF
  52. 52. Some examples of Hoe CF Dutch Gibson’s Maize 60 ha. Land prep cost $46/ha. Expected yield 8 to 9 tons/ha
  53. 53. Ox Min Till CF Dry Season Ripping with Magoye Ripper. Ripping Window 6 months. Contracting opportunities . Ploughing window 3 weeks? Cost 40% of ploughing 1ha 4 hrs. Ploughing 14 hrsImproved Magoye Ripper
  54. 54. Early April Season Ripping through Red Sunnhemp Fallow Ox Min Till CF
  55. 55. Early April Ripping through physiologically mature Soya Beans OX Min-Till CF
  56. 56. Some examples of Ox CF
  57. 57. Some examples of Ox CF
  58. 58. Ox Zero-Till CF The Brazilian Fitarelli. Plant into early weeds and spray Roundup before crop emergence
  59. 59. Direct drilled Cowpea showing good weed kill. In-situ Mulch Ox Zero-Till CF
  60. 60. Ox Zero-Till CF
  61. 61. Mechanised Min-Till CF Shallow Dry Season Ripping of planting furrows. Diesel consumption 10 to 12 litres/ha. Shallow ripping to 20-25cms
  62. 62. Mechanised Min-Till CF Sequence: Rip, plant in rip lines with Fitarelli, apply Maize herbicides
  63. 63. You have some of these in Kenya – We are told by FAO its the best Zero till for medium scale farmers . Tractors 30kw to 50kw
  64. 64. Rainfall Chibombo District 2004/5 Season Month Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb March Total Rain days 3 5 13 16 6 3 46 Rain mm 15.0 94.0 304.0 245.0 71.0 31.0 760.0 Mean 22.0 79.0 177.0 212.0 163.0 157.0 810.0 CF AND CLIMATE CHANGE February Rainfall: 57% below normal March Rainfall: 80% below normal 2004/5 WAS DECLARED A DROUGHT YEAR AND FOOD RELIEF WAS DISTRIBUTED IN MANY AREAS BY WFP AND NGO’S
  65. 65. 16th March 2005: Conventional Ox Tillage – Hired Animals. Yield Zero 2004/5 SEASON CONVENTIONAL OX FARMING Chibombo District Conventional Farmer Prepared for climate change? Not a chance!
  66. 66. 2004/5 SEASON CF OX FARMING. DROUGHT? CF Ox farmer. Distance from Conventional Farmer 1 km 25th January 2005: Yields would have been remarkable in a normal season.
  67. 67. CF + Faidhebia albida = CA The medium term solution to sustainable SSF in Central Africa CAP Goal 240,000 hectares planted by smallholders by 2011
  68. 68. Distribution Faidherbia is widely distributed with high ecological adaptability.  Across the Sahel from the Atlantic to the Red Sea.  Across Namibia and Southern Angola.  From Natal across Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia to Yemen, Israel and Jordan. Altitude  Faidherbia is found 270m below sea level near the Dead Sea and up to 2,300 m in Jebel Mara in the Sudan.
  69. 69. 60 years of research shows on each hectare, mature trees supply the equivalent of 300kg of complete fertiliser and 250kg of lime.
  70. 70. Faidherbia displays reverse phrenology. Leafs up in the dry season and defoliates in the rains
  71. 71. In addition to promoting the planting of Faidherbia by CF adopters, the CFU also established trials under mature trees in 2007/8 These 40 trials will continue for 4 seasons until 2010/11
  72. 72. On-Farm Trial Number 002 – Faidherbia Albida Crop Yields Detailed Trial Design: Maize Cotton 10 rows x 12 CF basins 10 rows x 12 CF basins Groundnuts 10 rows x 12 CF basins Soya + Inoculate 10 rows x 12 CF basins Maize Cotton Groundnuts Soya + Inoculate 10 rows x 12 CF basins 10 rows x 12 CF basins 10 rows x 12 CF basins 10 rows x 12 CF basins Edge of Canopy 8.1m 16.1m Maize, Cotton and Groundnuts planted immediately after first planting rains following CF hoe recommendations. Soya planted 10-14 days later. Fertiliser zero all plots. Inoculate on Soya. Same day planting. 10.5m 32.9m Collection and analysis of soil samples, 3 from under canopy 3 from outside canopy before rains. Outside Canopy
  73. 73. In the first year we leaned the following: • The farmers only looked after the Maize • Some farmers did a poor job • We only got reliable results from 14 trials The raw data for Maize showed: • 4.11 tons/ha under canopy • 1.29 tons/ha outside canopy For 2008/9 we decided to pay farmers a bit to manage!
  74. 74. 2008/9 Trials - Excellent Management
  75. 75. ICRAF!
  76. 76. Faidherbia at GART 9 Years old At recommended spacing of 10m x 10m – 100 trees per hectare
  77. 77. Small-scale CA . Re-filling gaps always necessary to get full stand
  78. 78. In Zambia: Seedlings sown in mid November. Transplanted in the field after 5 weeks Typical SSF Air-pruned nursery of 125 seedlings
  79. 79. Important: Always remember to scrape seed before sowing to get 90% germination
  80. 80. Some observations about Faidherbia in Zambia • Nutrient recycling substantial • However there is some shading effect • Rains commence say 20th November • Trees start defoliating about beginning of December • Branches maybe give 10 to 15% shading • Trees start leafing up about 20th February • Important to plant Cereals and Groundnuts with first rains • Not sure about effect on Cotton & legume yields yet • For Maize it is a winner • Trees only start making pods after 14 years??
  81. 81. With Faidherbia Small-scale agriculture is linked to reforestation not deforestation Maize farmers liberated from excessive dependency on fertiliser Farming environment and rural landscape improved Sedentary agriculture in perpetuity enabled Carbon sequestration THANKS TO ALL

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