A research agenda to explore the role of conservation agriculture in African smallholder farming systems

Giller, K E and Corbeels, M and Nyamangara, J and Triomphe, B and Affholder, F and Scopel, E and Tittonell, P (2011) A research agenda to explore the role of conservation agriculture in African smallholder farming systems. Field Crops Research, 124 (3). pp. 468-472. ISSN 0378-4290

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Controversy surrounds the promotion of conservation agriculture (CA) in smallholder farming systems in sub-Saharan Africa. The introduction of CA is a profound change in farm management. Benefits in reduced erosion and stabilized crop production may be obtained, but technical performance at field level is but one of the determinants of adoption. For various reasons, all of the CA principles are not always fully implemented by farmers and results not as favourable as expected. As with other approaches to increasing agricultural productivity, the production constraints, farmers’ objectives, and the expected benefits and costs of implementing CA are important aspects that influence adoption. At farm and village levels, trade-offs in the allocation of resources become important in determining how CA may fit into a given farming system. At a regional level, factors such as the market conditions, interactions among stakeholders and other institutional and political dimensions become important. At each level, opportunities or difficulties emerge that enhance or impede development, adaptation and adoption of CA. The ex-ante identification of situations for where CA (and which form of CA) is appropriate demands research from a multi-stakeholder, multi-level, and interdisciplinary perspective. Recommendations are made where research is required to address key knowledge gaps.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Zero-tillage; Labour productivity; Trade-off analysis; Weed control; Innovation systems
Subjects: Others > Agriculture-Farming, Production, Technology, Economics
Depositing User: Users 6 not found.
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2011 04:42
Last Modified: 02 Jan 2012 07:33
URI: http://oar.icrisat.org/id/eprint/4779
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fcr.2011.04.010
Projects: CA2Africa project
Funders: European Commission
Acknowledgement: We thank the organizers of ESA2010, and in particular Jacques Wery, for the opportunity of organizing the symposium that formed the basis of this contribution. Gerd Dercon and Michael Jenrich made important contributions to the panel discussion in Montpellier and extensive comments on earlier manuscripts that helped to shape the text. Marc Corbeels, Bernard Triomphe, Eric Scopel and Pablo Tittonell are funded by the European Commission through the CA2Africa project.
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