Sunday, 7 October 2007

Conservation farming

The aim of conservation farming is to increase profitability in a way that leads to sustainable development. Conventional farming methods in Africa have left soil depleted with lower yields, and at the same time it is feared that climate change is going to reduce food production still further.

To achieve this they advocate

  • using hand operated jab-planters rather like tall dibbers, or Magoye Ripper, a plough which creates a very narrow furrow, or digging a basin round plants to collect rainwater.
  • careful timing of planting after the first rains and not immediately they start.
  • ground cover to preserve moisture and mulch to enrich the soil and discourage weeds, rather than burning off.
  • rotation of crops and inter-planting to increase soil fertility and discourage pests.

There is further information in two IRIN reports:

AFRICA: Food production to halve by 2020
SOUTHERN AFRICA: Cutting edge farming methods boost production


  1. Wow - so amazing to see this here. How developing countries were tackling this was my favourite branch of study with georgraphy. A degree of sadness to it because it reads exactly how i learnt about this subject and this was over 10 years ago.

  2. That is so sad that it's taken all this time to be implemented. I wonder if the aid agencies concentrated too much on increased food production and not on sustainable development and conservation.

  3. This sounds serious ! African leaders must urgently come together and address this mattter.
    More emphasis be on agriculture, increase capacity building in agricultural research, sustainable techniques and allocating big portion of national budget to issues of environment.Support institutions like UCZ Chipembi farm college that deals with the grassroot farmers to carry out workshops and training. Here the solution lies in the hands of the grass root community dealers and companies.we should not waste time and money with theoratical institutions ! we have gathered nothing so far from them. This a do or die situation.
    Paul Samba


Forethoughts, afterthoughts, any thoughts. Tell me.


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