Assessing the contributions of conservation agriculture to building resilience to drought, Conservation Agriculture Literature Review

Mazvimavi, K (2016) Assessing the contributions of conservation agriculture to building resilience to drought, Conservation Agriculture Literature Review. Technical Report. Vuna Research Report, Pretoria, SA.

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Vuna is a DFID-funded regional Climate Smart Agriculture Programme. The British Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) financed this work as part of the United Kingdom’s aid programme. However, the views and recommendations contained in this report are those of the consultant, and DFID is not responsible for, or bound by the recommendations made. This material is not to be reproduced, altered, contents deleted or modified in any way without written permission from Vuna.


This literature review summarises theory and evidence of the contribution of conservation agriculture (CA) to resilience in the event of drought. A resilient agricultural system is able to continue to function and provide essential ecosystem services, such as food provisioning, following an external shock. If drought occurs, a more resilient system should offer higher productivity and food security. The review asks whether CA improves productivity and food security when rainfall is poor, and what aspects of CA contribute most to these benefits. The review will guide the design of a field study on the impacts of CA after the 2015/16 El Nino drought in southern Africa. Conservation agriculture combines three basic sets of technologies or practices: i) minimum or reduced tillage, ii) maintenance of soil surface cover using crop residues, and iii) crop diversification using rotations. CA has been identified as a climate smart agricultural practice because it improves crop productivity, improves resilience of cropping systems to climate change, and mitigates greenhouse gases. In Southern Africa two forms of CA have recently been promoted: a manual version based on digging planting basins, and a mechanised practice based on the use of soil rippers and direct seeders or jab planters. Due, in part, to inaccessibility of CA equipment, most smallholder farmers in the region are practising manual CA techniques...

Item Type: Monograph (Technical Report)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sub-Saharan Africa, SSA, Africa, literature review, Crop Resilience, Conservation agriculture, CA
Subjects: Others > Climate Resilient Technologies
Others > Drought
Others > African Agriculture
Others > Sub-Saharan Africa
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2019 04:12
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2019 04:12
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