2011, pp 861-873

Use of Conservation Agriculture to Improve Farming Systems in Developing Countries

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Abstract

Farmers in both developed and developing countries are confronting new challenges related to the globalised economy, accelerating production costs and now climate change. Conventional farming practices that involve tillage for land preparation and weed control, removal or burning of crop residues and mono-cropping are associated with soil erosion and degradation of the soil health needed for efficient water productivity and sustainable crop production. Over the past 30 years, a new approach to farm management to address these issues includes reduced tillage, retention of crop residues and the use of more diversified crop rotations. This is now referred to as Conservation Agriculture. The results of research to compare the productivity and profitability of Conservation Agriculture (CA) with that of conventional farming are outlined in this chapter. Since achieving the benefits of CA requires major changes in attitude from conventional production, the successful extension and farmer adoption of CA requires farmer participation in the development and adaptation of CA technologies.