Conservation Agriculture


The Technical Consultation on Integrated Crop-Livestock Systems for Development reported in this document was the culmination of a collaborative process in which FAO, IICA, EMBRAPA and IFAD and
many individuals from a number of organizations participated over several months to ensure its success. The Consultation process was initiated by the Office of the Assistant Director General of the Agriculture Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization (AG-FAO) of the United Nations. The process comprised two parts – an electronic Consultation during February and March 2010 in which some 300 individuals from a number of organizations participated, and a face-to-face Technical Consultation that was held at the EMBRAPA Maize and Sorghum Institute in Sete Lagaos, Brazil, from 23-26 May 2010. Institutions that helped to plan and organize the Consultation included: FAO, IICA/PROCITROPICOS, EMBRAPA, IFAD, FARA, ICRAF, ILRI, CGIAR-SLP.

Pdf document is available from FAO website

CA2Africa project (Conservation Agriculture in AFRICA: Analysing and Foreseeing its Impact – Comprehending its Adoption) is seeking to understand why Conservation Agriculture (CA) techniques have not been adopted widely throughout Africa. The results of the project will be used to tailor future CA efforts to local needs. The objective of the project is, therefore, to examine the agro-ecological, socio-economic and institutional conditions that determine success or failure of CA.

Read CA2Africa Newsletter

Project Website

 

This week, research teams on the SLP-supported project ‘Optimizing benefits from crop residues in smallholder crop-livestock systems in Africa and South Asia regional case studies’ are meeting in Addis Ababa to review progress and workplans. The two-year project is carrying out regional case studies in South Asia, Southern Africa, East Africa and West Africa.

The meeting was opened by Systemwide Livestock Programme (SLP) Coordinator Bruno Gerard. He introduced the project and the three principal research questions:

  • What determines the decisions about crop residue use (current crop management, agro-ecology, markets/institutions, resource endowments and dynamics)?
  • What is the impact of those decisions on livelihood and system sustainability?
  • What are the technology, institutional and policy options that would enhance livelihood and environmental benefits?

See his presentation:

He also introduced a survey of the participants to gather some information on who’s attending the meeting, their views on the project goals and approach, issues associated with crop residues, and on the SLP itself.

See the survey results online at http://tinyurl.com/slpsurvey

See the project proposal and flyer

See the meeting wiki page

See the December 2010 newsletter

Important components of the ‘Optimizing benefits from crop residues in smallholder crop-livestock systems in Africa and South Asia regional case studies’ project are village and household surveys in each of the four regions.

The village group surveys aim to capture: drivers and market access, communal feed resources, and systems evolution in term of feeding strategies and soil productivity. The thematic household surveys aim to capture: decision making for the allocation of crop residues, soil fertility management practices and feeding strategies, and retrospective questions to understand farm evolution and trajectories.

During is week’s project review and planning meeting, Diego Valbuena shared some comparative aggregated village data from the 7 different project sites – in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

See his presentation:

See the project proposal and flyer

See the meeting wiki page

CARWG with support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), The African Conservation Tillage Network (ACT) and the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is hosting a regional symposium on Conservation Agriculture in Johannesburg South Africa, 8-9 February 2011.

The symposium has the following objectives:
1. To share and document information on the biophysical, social and economic impacts of Conservation Agriculture technologies in the region;
2. To share and document experiences on Conservation Agriculture scale up approaches and impacts; and
3. To identify key areas for research and development and explore institutional and policy innovations for Conservation Agriculture scale up.

CA_Symposium_Call_for_Papers_October_2010

Smallholders in mixed crop–livestock systems make up a large proportion of the farming enterprises in developing countries. In these systems, crop residues are an important component of production since they have multiple uses including livestock feed, construction materials, cooking fuel and organic fertilizer for the fields.

Mixed crop–livestock systems are very dynamic and are evolving rapidly in response to external drivers such as demographic pressure, development of urban markets, climate variability and climate change. In addition, recent interest in biofuels has further implications for land use and resource allocation.

This study aims to improve understanding of the tradeoffs among different crop residue uses in cereal-based systems in four regions: millet-, sorghum-, and maize-based systems in West Africa; maize-based systems in eastern Africa, maize- and sorghum-based systems in southern Africa; and wheat/rice-based systems in South Asia. The major trade-off in most systems is the short-term benefit gained from using crop residues to feed livestock versus the longer-term benefit gained from leaving crop residues in the field to improve soil fertility and control erosion.

The study focuses on decision-making processes at the farm and household level and the findings will capture the diversity and contrasts as well as recent changes in crop residue uses at various scales. The results will help decision makers to target technical, institutional and policy options to improve livelihoods, without compromising the long-term sustainability of these farming systems.

Project Flyer

Newsletter July 2010

Newsletter August 2010

Newsletter September 2010

Brazil has revolutionised its own farms. Can it do the same for others?

An interesting article in the Economist on the transformation of farming systems in the cerrado of Brazil. Certainly addressing food security at global level but may be not equity, the future of small scale enterprises and other social and environmental issues…  To put in parallel with technical models linked to land deals (grabs) in Africa?

A related story: the recent and ambitious development partnership plan aiming at strengthening agricultural collaboration between Africa and Brazil which was launched at the 5th FARA/ African Agriculture Science Week in Burkina Faso on 21 July.

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) will support the 5th WCCA and 3rd FSD be held in Australia in September 2011.

The combination of 5th WCCA and 3rd FSD effort brings a unique opportunity to discuss the application of conservation agriculture principles from a farming systems perspective. At this meeting we will discuss conservation agriculture principles in both large-scale, high-tech commercial farms, and small-scale low-cost smallholder farms from developing regions in the world in the context of food security concerns, increasing food demand and climate change.

The Congress expects to attract over 700 scientists, students, farm managers, policy makers, conservationists and others interested in sustainability, conservation and farming systems.

For more info

The final report of the SLP projet Balancing livestock needs and soil conservation: assessment of opportunities in intensifying cereal–livestock systems in West Africa led by IITA in collaboration with ICRISAT and ILRI is now available on line

Photo: Tahirou Abdoulaye (IITA)

The general objective of the project was to identify key areas where research can make a difference in balancing trade-offs among livestock, soil, and crops, while taking advantage of synergies in evolving crop–livestock systems. The project focused on the identification of socioeconomic factors influencing decision-making on crop residue uses, quantification of trade-offs in using crop residues as soil amendment or livestock feed, and the identification of entry points for improving the productivity of cereal–legume–livestock systems.

see FAO website

The Consultation process will now move into the second part which is the face-to-face Workshop scheduled to be held from 23-26 March 2010 at Embrapa, Sete Lagaos, Minas Geráis, Brazil.

The Workshop programme and agenda will be posted on the above website this week, and the outcome of the Workshop will be shared with you in due course.

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