Conservation Agriculture and Sustainable Crop Intensification: A Zimbabwe Case Study

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Higher agricultural production and improved access are vital to future food security. There is also a fundamental need to address the destructive effects of current agricultural production systems on ecosystem services, and to 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. It also improves soil nutrient status by increasing soil carbon and nitrogen through the use of organic soil cover and legumes in rotations and interactions. This leads 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. It 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 on sustainable intensification concepts for agriculture.

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Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
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