Conservation Agriculture in Africa: Challenges and Lessons Learned
By 2050, the African continent will have a population above one billion. Agricultural production and
access to food in a sustainable environment will represent one of the major challenges. The current
dominant agricultural practices cannot meet this forthcoming challenges. Therefore new set of technological
options are needed to ensure appropriate management of the interfaces agriculture/forestry, agriculture/
climate and agriculture/human activities as well as provision of enough food to feed Africa.
Conservation agriculture as a combination of at least three techniques (no-till, direct planting and
permanent soil cover) has progressively proven to be viable tool for increasing agricultural production
while ensuring nature functioning and ecosystems various services. From small to larger scales there are
been a number of pilot sites which yield beyond 50% increase of crops, protected the soil, levered
biodiversity and contributed to water quality maintenance.
One of the largest success story is taking place in Zambia where conservation agriculture is part of
extension services promoted systems provided to more than 250,000 small scale farmers.
The paper addresses the challenges of scaling up conservation agriculture on the basis of results obtained
on the ground: strong policy decision, review of extension services curricula, sufficient credit for
equipment, and appropriate mechanisms for access to inputs notably fertilizers.
Such investment is essential to ground conservation agriculture in its diversity of practices at larger
scale for the benefit of modernized as well as small scale farmers’ agriculture as a driver for the motto
“Africa can feed itself”.
|Date of issued||2012-11-28|
|Publisher||Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences|
|Rights||Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences|