Conservation agriculture and climate resilience

Michler, J D and Baylis, K and Arends-Kuenning, M and Mazvimavi, K (2019) Conservation agriculture and climate resilience. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management (TSI), 93. pp. 148-169. ISSN 0095-0696

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Agricultural productivity growth is vital for economic and food security outcomes which are threatened by climate change. In response, governments and development agencies are encouraging the adoption of ‘climate-smart’ agricultural technologies, such as conservation agriculture (CA). However, there is little rigorous evidence that demonstrates the effect of CA on production or climate resilience, and what evidence exists is hampered by selection bias. Using panel data from Zimbabwe, we test how CA performs during extreme rainfall events - both shortfalls and surpluses. We control for the endogenous adoption decision and find that use of CA in years of average rainfall results in no yield gains, and in some cases yield loses. However, CA is effective in mitigating the negative impacts of deviations in rainfall. We conclude that the lower yields during normal rainfall seasons may be a proximate factor in low uptake of CA. Policy should focus promotion of CA on these climate resilience benefits.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : East & Southern Africa
Uncontrolled Keywords: Climate resilience, Conservation farming, Technology adoption, Climate smart agriculture, Weather risk, Zimbabwe, Conservation agriculture, Climate-smart agricultural technologies, CSA, Rainfall events, Smallholder farmers, Sub-Saharan Africa
Subjects: Others > Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA)
Mandate crops > Millets
Others > Climate Resilient Technologies
Mandate crops > Sorghum
Others > Maize
Others > Climate Change
Others > Zimbabwe
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2019 04:47
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2019 04:47
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: The authors owe a particular debt to Albert Chirima, Tarisayi Pedzisa, AlexWinter-Nelson, and Yujun Zhou. This work has benefited from helpful comments and criticism by Anna Josephson, David Rohrbach, David Spielman, and Christian Thierfelder as well as seminar participants at the CSAE conference in Oxford, the AERE conference in Pittsburgh, the AAAE conference in Addis Ababa, and the joint SPIA/PIMConference on technology adoption and impact, in Nairobi. This researchwas supported by ISPC-SPIA under the grant “Strengthening Impact Assessment in the CGIAR System(SIAC).”We gratefully acknowledge financial support for the data collection from the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) through the Protracted Relief Program (PRP) in Zimbabwe, 2007–2011. Neither the funders nor our implementation partners had any role in the analysis, writing of the paper, or decision to submit for publication.
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