Conservation agriculture and sustainable crop intensification: A Zimbabwe case study - Rome (Italy) : FAO, 2012 - 44 pages - Integrated Crop Management ; No. 17 .
Future food security relies not only on higher production and access to food but also on the need to address the destructive effects of current agricultural production systems on ecosystem services and increase the resilience of production systems to the effects of climate change. Conservation agriculture (CA) addresses the problem of low and erratic rainfall through the use of practices that reduce water losses and increase infiltration, and low soil nutrient status by increasing soil carbon and nitrogen through the use of organic soil cover and legumes in rotations and interactions. CA enables the sustainable intensification of agriculture by conserving and enhancing the quality of the soil, leading to higher yields and the protection of the local environment and ecosystem services. This publication describes the experiences of introducing and promoting CA as a practice for sustainable crop production intensification in farming communities across Zimbabwe by various stakeholders such as the Ministry of Agriculture, NGOs, FAO, CIMMYT and ICRISAT. The case study explains the adoption process and shows the impact of CA in terms of agricultural production, environment and ecosystem services, livelihoods and other socio-economic factors. The case study is directed to policy makers, scientists and environmentalists and should help decision making towards sustainable intensification concepts for agriculture.