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Over 60% of Africans depend on some form of farming for their sustenance and livelihoods. Agriculture remains vital for the continent's development and economic growth. Recent stagnation or decline in farm productivity in many parts of Africa is a major concern. For many communities and countries, this has translated into chronic food insecurity and growing poverty.

Households and communities are increasingly vulnerable, as their only resource - their land - can no longer sustain them. Africa is witnessing severe degradation of its farmlands. Much of this degradation can be attributed to common, but exploitative, farming practices - ploughing that destroys the soil structure and degrades organic matter, burning or removing crop residues, monocropping, etc. Soil and water management practices that sustain and enhance the productivity of arable soils are a must for Africa. They are a vital part of the long-term solution to food insecurity and poverty.

Conservation agriculture aims to overcome these problems. It consists of three simple principles - disturb the soil as little as possible, keep the soil covered, and mix and rotate crops. These principles can be put into practice in many different ways.

Farmers throughout Africa, and throughout the world, are beginning to adopt them. They have seen their yields rise, their soil gain fertility, and their labor need decrease. But conservation agriculture must be promoted actively if it is to spread rapidly. Grassroot players (farmers, extension workers, input suppliers, etc.) often lack information on what to do and where to do it. This manual aims to fill this gap.

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Publication Details

  • Published: 2008
  • Publisher: International Institute of Rural Reconstruction
  • ISBN-10: 9966970592
  • ISBN-13: 9789966970596
  • Dewey Decimal: 631.45
  • ECHO Library: 631.45 IIRR