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Conservation Agriculture in maize- and wheat-based systems in the (Sub)tropics: Lessons from adaptation initiatives in South Asia, Mexico, and Southern Africa

By: Erenstein, O.
Contributor(s): Sayre, K.D [coaut.] | Wall, P [coaut.] | Dixon, J [coaut.] | Hellin, J. J.
Material type: materialTypeLabelArticlePublisher: 2012ISSN: 1540-7578 (Revista en electrónico); 1044-0046.Subject(s): Adaptation | cereal systems | innovation systems | Conservation agriculture | Smallholders In: Journal of Sustainable Agriculture v. 36, no. 2, p. 180-206Summary: Conservation agriculture's underlying principles?minimal soil disturbance, soil cover and crop rotation?are increasingly recognized as essential for sustainable agriculture. This article summarizes three contrasting cases of adapting conservation agriculture (CA) to smallholder conditions in the (sub)tropics: a) irrigated rice-wheat systems in South Asia; b) rainfed maize/wheat and irrigated wheat systems in Mexico; and c) rainfed maize in Southern Africa. In the South Asia case, farm surveys show rapid and widespread adoption of zero tillage wheat?primarily due to a substantial cost saving (15?16%). In the other cases, uptake so far has been limited?although long-term trials show continuously higher and more stable yields both for maize and wheat. Under marginal conditions CA can generate substantial yield increases?averaging some 50% over conventional smallholder maize yields of 1 ton per ha over 6 years in on-farm trails in Southern Africa. The diverse experiences attest to the wide adaptability of CA systems, which can generate clear economic and potentially enormous environmental benefits. The case studies and wider literature however also reiterate the substantial challenges in terms of targeting, adapting and adopting CA?particularly for smallholders in the (sub)tropics. CA systems are best developed in situ through a multi-stakeholder adaptive learning process to create viable CA-based options that are technically sound, economically attractive, and socially acceptable.
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Article CIMMYT Knowledge Center: John Woolston Library

Lic. Jose Juan Caballero Flores

 

CIMMYT Staff Publications Collection CIS-6565 (Browse shelf) Available
Total holds: 0

Peer-review: No - Open Access: Yes|http://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?show=aimsScope&journalCode=wjsa21#.UxetQfldX2M

Conservation agriculture's underlying principles?minimal soil disturbance, soil cover and crop rotation?are increasingly recognized as essential for sustainable agriculture. This article summarizes three contrasting cases of adapting conservation agriculture (CA) to smallholder conditions in the (sub)tropics: a) irrigated rice-wheat systems in South Asia; b) rainfed maize/wheat and irrigated wheat systems in Mexico; and c) rainfed maize in Southern Africa. In the South Asia case, farm surveys show rapid and widespread adoption of zero tillage wheat?primarily due to a substantial cost saving (15?16%). In the other cases, uptake so far has been limited?although long-term trials show continuously higher and more stable yields both for maize and wheat. Under marginal conditions CA can generate substantial yield increases?averaging some 50% over conventional smallholder maize yields of 1 ton per ha over 6 years in on-farm trails in Southern Africa. The diverse experiences attest to the wide adaptability of CA systems, which can generate clear economic and potentially enormous environmental benefits. The case studies and wider literature however also reiterate the substantial challenges in terms of targeting, adapting and adopting CA?particularly for smallholders in the (sub)tropics. CA systems are best developed in situ through a multi-stakeholder adaptive learning process to create viable CA-based options that are technically sound, economically attractive, and socially acceptable.

Maize CRP FP1 - Sustainable intensification of maize-based farming systems FP4 - Alignment with and strengthening maize seed systems for effective product delivery

Wheat CRP FP1 - Maximizing value for money, social inclusivity through prioritizing WHEAT R4D investments FP4 - Sustainable intensification of wheat - based cropping systems

Conservation Agriculture Program|Socioeconomics Program

English

CIMMYT Informa No. 1779

INT2677|CSAY01|INT2698

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