Farmers in many parts of the world, because of human population growth, have little choice but to crop their land continuously, with scarce resources to replace nutrients withdrawn by each successive crop. Crop residues are often lost as a source of organic matter and mulch, usually through burning or by removal for animal feed or cooking fuel. Especially where nutrient reserves are already low, and topsoil is exposed to erosion, soils lose their capacity to sustain adequate crop yields. Additionally, extreme weather events, adverse changes in climate, human conflict, and sickness can all work against smallholder farmers’ abilities to sustain the productive capacity of their soils. Conservation Agriculture attempts to address these problems.

Conservation agriculture (CA) is a resource-saving land management approach that optimizes and sustains the capacity of soils to produce food. In CA, sustainability is linked to the ecological preservation of agricultural landscapes. This is achieved through 1) minimal soil disturbance, 2) keeping soils covered, and 3) crop diversification. Implementing these three elements requires a combination of practices, for which there are many options. Thinking of CA as an overall system, rather than a fixed set of techniques, gives farmers and practitioners the freedom to evaluate and adopt a set of CA-related practices appropriate to local needs.

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  1. Key Resource
    2012-01-01 Dawn Berkelaar, working with Dr. Martin Price and Danny Blank, featured this farming system in EDN 98. At that time, the technique was known as “Farming God’s Way” (FGW). Subsequently, the name was changed to “Foundations for Farming” (FFF); however, it continues to also be promoted as FGW. FGW...
  2. Key Resource
    2016-09-28 Farmers in many parts of the world, because of human population growth, have little choice but to crop their land continuously, with scarce resources to replace nutrients withdrawn by each successive crop. Crop residues are often lost as a source of organic matter and mulch, usually through...
  3. “Zai” is a term that farmers in northern Burkina Faso use to refer to small planting pits that typically measure 20-30 cm in width, are 10-20 cm deep and spaced 60-80 cm apart. In the Tahoua region of Niger, the haussa word “tassa” is used. English terms used to decribe zai pits include “planting...
  4. This group page exists so that individuals involved in Conservation Agriculture around the world can connect. We encourage you to share the challenges you face in your endeavors, discuss lessons and techniques learned through your experiences, and share your story!
  5. Over the past 2-3 years CFGB staff and partners have been developing and field testing CA training materials designed to be used at the farmer level. We are pleased that the African Conservation Tillage network has agreed to host these materials on their website athttp://caguide.act-africa.org/so...
  6. 2015-04-30 We recently learned of correspondence among several network members on the topic of Conservation Agriculture (CA) in areas of heavy rain. The information seemed potentially helpful for others in ECHO’s network, so we are sharing it here.
  7. 2017-02-08 The session will focus on highlighting and sharing with the participants the lessons learned from implementing two food security programs promoting CA principles in Central Kenya in the last 4-5 years. Even though we are starting to see positive results and identifying future potential of farmers...
  8. 2017-02-07 The desire to transform smallholder farming to feed the increasing hungry people, burgeoning population, and adaptation and mitigation to climate change is high. There is an obvious realization that it is smallholder farming and rain-fed for that matter that holds the promise to feed the hungry...
  9. 2016-03-02 Session: World Renew supports innovative ways to combat climate change. The presentation will dwell on lessons learnt from Conservation Agriculture promotion in pastoralist areas which will encompass adaptation, scaling up and extension methodologies based upon lessons learned from the field....
  10. 2016-11-01 On average, crop yields under DER+ and TER+ increased by 30% and 16%, respectively, as compared to CT. Our study demonstrates that field water conservation tillage practices that incorporate CA principles are effectively increasing green water in the root zone available for crops. RCA systems...
  11. 2016-11-01 The study in Borichaworeda, Sidama Zone, Southern Ethiopia examines socio-economic, householdrelated, technological and institutional factors affecting conservation agriculture in the study area. The overallfinding of the study emphasizes the high importance of economic support in providing...
  12. 2014-10-27
  13. 2017-02-09 Root crops are not often used in conservation agriculture. This session describes their use and best practices. Presenter : Stephen Lutz is Program Consultant for World Renew in Kenya for the past 12 years, and advises three local established church partners throughout Kenya, managing...
  14. 2017-02-08 In marginal environments where strong crop-livestock interactions exist, inclusive and equitable access to finance, well-functioning land rental markets, and efficient provision of extension advisory services contribute significantly towards the shift to more sustainable land use management and...
  15. 2017-02-08 Cover crops play a key role in sustainable agriculture by providing sustainable sources of nutrients as well as protective soil cover to minimize erosion and reduce moisture stresses. Examples of successful cover cropping systems in East Africa will be illustrated as well as constraints and...
  16. 2015-11-19 This talk will focus on the positive results we have obtained and hope to further achieve by using Conservation Agriculture (CA), as well as the main barriers and challenges faced in implementing CA in differing contexts. We will explore how CA can be scaled-up given the context-specific nature...
  17. 2017-02-08 Cover crops play a key role in sustainable agriculture by providing sustainable sources of nutrients as well as protective soil cover to minimize erosion and reduce moisture stresses. Examples of successful cover cropping systems in East Africa will be illustrated as well as constraints and...
  18. 2017-04-20 Conservation Agriculture (CA)—characterized by the three linked principles of minimizing soil disturbance, permanently covering the soil, and including crop rotations and associations – has proven effective at restoring soil health and fertility, improving the capture and use of rainfall, and...
  19. Conservation agriculture is largely the product of the collective efforts of a number of previous agricultural movements, including no-till agriculture, agroforestry, green manures/cover crops, direct planting/seeding, integrated pest management, and conservation tillage among many others. Yet CA...
  20. Conservation agriculture is largely the product of the collective efforts of a number of previous agricultural movements, including no-till agriculture, agroforestry, green manures/cover crops, direct planting/seeding, integrated pest management, and conservation tillage among many others. Yet CA...
  21. Conservation agriculture is largely the product of the collective efforts of a number of previous agricultural movements, including no-till agriculture, agroforestry, green manures/cover crops, direct planting/seeding, integrated pest management, and conservation tillage among many others. Yet CA...
  22. Conservation agriculture is largely the product of the collective efforts of a number of previous agricultural movements, including no-till agriculture, agroforestry, green manures/cover crops, direct planting/seeding, integrated pest management, and conservation tillage among many others. Yet CA...
  23. CA is a set of soil management practices that minimize the disruption of the soil's structure, composition and natural biodiversity. Despite high variability in the types of crops grown and specific management regimes, all forms of conservation agriculture share three core principles. These...
  24. 2014-10-27
  25. Abstract,International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 2011 Conservation Agriculture (CA) has been practised for three decades and has spread widely. We estimate that there are now some 106 million ha of arable and permanent crops grown without tillage in CA systems, corresponding to an...
  26. The Tropical Forages websiteis a collaborative effort between CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries (Qld), Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). The website is designed to enable...
  27. Conservation Agriculture (CA) has spread in the past 40 years to cover 105 million hectares of farmland worldwide (ACT 2008). CA’s effectiveness in retaining soil moisture, improving soil quality, lowering input costs and producing stable, high yields of crops leaves little doubt that it will be...
  28. 2017-11-29 The presentation will be based on findings of an ex-post evaluation of 10 years of Christian Care’sConservation Agriculture (CA) programming which started in 2006 and ended in 2014 in five districtsof Zimbabwe with funding from the United Church of Canada and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB)....
  29. 2017-11-14 The presentation will be based on findings of an ex-post evaluation of 10 years of Christian Care’sConservation Agriculture (CA) programming which started in 2006 and ended in 2014 in five districtsof Zimbabwe with funding from the United Church of Canada and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB)....
  30. Abstract -The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension- Feb, 2018 Purpose:The limited uptake of improved agricultural practices in Africa raise questions on the functionality of current agricultural research systems. Our purpose is to explore the capacity for local innovation within the...
  31. Abstract, 2015 This study was on conservation agriculture, an agriculture system that employs a set of techniques that aim to protect the soil from erosion, increase the fertility of soils and its profitability, in a sustainable way contributing to protect the environemnt. This research examined...
  32. Abstract,International Journal Of Horticulture, Agriculture And Food Science, Oct, 2017 A survey was undertaken in three districts of Zambia namely; Monze, Mpongwe and Chipata which are hosting the Agriculture Productivity Programme for Southern Africa (APPSA) Sub-project titled “Developing...
  33. Farmers in semi-arid West Africa understand the value of water, how it limits crop production and how essential it is to survival. They must contend with unreliable rainfall, short, unpredictable rainy seasons, and increasingly frequent natural hazards. Moreover, climate change may exacerbate all...
  34. AccessAgriculture Training Video Conservation agriculture is a farming system that conserves, improves, and makes more efficient use of natural resources through integrated management of water, soil, plants or crops. A farmer in Kenya explains how conservation agriculture can benefit many small...
  35. AccessAgriculture Training Video Ploughing breaks the soil and exposes it to erosion by the wind and rain. Sometimes a field can be planted without ploughing it at all, this is called zero or minimum tillage. If you want to break the surface slightly, you can harrow the field before planting it....
  36. Over the past 2-3 years CFGB staff and partners have been developing and field testing CA training materials designed to be used at the farmer level. We are pleased that the African Conservation Tillage network has agreed to host these materials on their website athttp://caguide.act-africa.org/so...
  37. 2017-11-17
  38. 2018-09-02 A brief video ofChris McDonoughdescribing the issues of soil erosion in black cracking clay soils in Tanzania, showing the importance of conservation farming techniques to help overcome this.
  39. 2019-05-01 Session:The major factor in the increase in droughts across Africa has been caused mostly by the gradual death of fallowing, and the resulting decrease in rainwater infiltration from about 60% down to 20% in most areas. GM/CCs are the only feasible way to save Africa from the rapidly increasing...
  40. 2019-02-14 Session: His talk will cover definitions with some mention of basic CA principles and practices, the origin of CA technologies in reference to the US Dust Bowl of 1930’s and comparison between conservation and conventional agricultural technologies. It will highlight the main problems associated...
  41. 2019-05-01 Biographical information:Ken Giller,Professor of Plant Production Systems, Wageningen University -joined Wageningen in 2001 after holding professorships at Wye College, University of London, and the University of Zimbabwe. He currently heads up a multifaceted project,N2Africa, which puts nitrogen...
  42. Mike Salomons, Canadian Foodgrains Bank Agriculture & Livelihoods Technical Advisor Over 1,000 different species of termites can be found across the continent of Africa! Termites are the longest living insects in the world, with some queens living as long as 50 years. The termite queen, king,...
  43. Balancing the needs of livestock and the need to keep soils covered is an on-going challenge with conservation agriculture throughout the world. When crop residues, grass, and mulch materials are in short supply, animal health and soil health both suffer. Competition for these materials can lead...
  44. 2018-11-08 Session: Climate uncertainty and environmental degradation cause deterioration in nutritional status of rural farm families throughout the tropics. Conservation Agriculture methods allow farmers to adapt to these challenges by building soil quality, lowering the risks of uncertain rainfall, and...
  45. 2018-08-07 Session: Climate uncertainty and environmental degradation cause deterioration in nutritional status of rural farm families throughout the tropics. Conservation Agriculture methods allow farmers to adapt to these challenges by building soil quality, lowering the risks of uncertain rainfall, and...
  46. 2019-05-01 Session:The session will focus on highlighting and sharing with the participants the lessons learned from implementing two food security programs promoting CA principles inEastern (Tharaka Nitii), Central (Muranga), Rift Valley (Nakuru) and Western Kenya (Busia) in the last 5-7 years.Even though...
  47. 1980-01-01 Erosion and pollution problems exist in every country, and each country has its own approach to managing and conserving soil and water. Soil and waqter conservation is everybody's business.
  48. Farmers in southern Niger have reclaimed 5 million hectares of land and increased food production by more than 500,000 tons per year by managing naturally-occurring trees and shrubs with Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR). The FMNR movement began in the early 1980s, and in recent years...
  49. The objectives of this guide are to assemble practical experience on how to promote community involvement in planning and implementing upland conservation, serve as a tool for in-service or basic training of foresters and extension agents who are responsible for promotion upland conservation...
  50. This report is the result of one year's collaboration between the Centre for Development Co-operation Services (CDCS) of the Free University of Amsterdam, the International Institute for Environment and Development, London, and the Soil Conservation Research Program, Addis Ababa. It compiles the...

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