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Agroecology-based aggradation-conservation agriculture (ABACO): Targeting innovations to combat soil degradation and food insecurity in semi-arid Africa

Agroecology-based aggradation-conservation agriculture (ABACO): Targeting innovations to combat soil degradation and food insecurity in semi-arid Africa

Tittonell, P., Scopel, E., Andrieu, N., Posthumus, H., Mapfumo, P., Corbeels, M., van Halsema, G.E., Lahmar, R., Lugandu, S., Rakotoarisoa, J., Mtambanengwe, F., Pound, B., Chikowo, R., Naudin, K., Triomphe, B. and Mkomwa, S. (2012) Agroecology-based aggradation-conservation agriculture (ABACO): Targeting innovations to combat soil degradation and food insecurity in semi-arid Africa. Field Crops Research, 132. pp. 168-174. ISSN 0378-4290 (doi:10.1016/j.fcr.2011.12.011)

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Abstract

Smallholder farmers in semi-arid Africa are in an increasingly vulnerable position due to the direct and indirect effects of climate change, demographic pressure and resource degradation. Conservation agriculture (CA) is promoted as an alternative to restore soil productivity through increased water and nutrient use efficiencies in these regions. However, adoption of CA is low due to a number of technical reasons, but fundamentally due to the fact that CA has been often promoted as a package, without proper adaptation to local circumstances. Farmers engagement in designing and implementing locally suited CA practices, as part of a long term strategy of soil rehabilitation is the core approach followed by the ABACO initiative, which brings together scientists and practitioners from West, East and Southern Africa coordinated through the African Conservation Tillage Network (www.act-africa.org). ABACO relies on agro-ecologically intensive measures for soil rehabilitation and increased water productivity in semi-arid regions, implemented, tested and disseminated through local co-innovation platforms. Rather than using rigid definitions of CA approaches that might not work in all sites, ABACO proposes to explore best engagement approaches for different sites. Simulation modelling is used as a support of long-term cross scale tradeoffs analysis from field to farms and territories, in order to inform effective policy-making. Preliminary results form the field are used here to illustrate and discuss the principles of ABACO, which may apply as well to regions other than semi-arid Africa.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: [1] First published: 14 June 2012. [2] Published in Field Crops Research, (2012), Vol. 132, pp. 168–174. Issue entitled: Conservation Agriculture in Dry Areas.
Uncontrolled Keywords: smallholder farming, soil restoration, innovation systems, modelling, Sub-Saharan Africa
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Livelihoods & Institutions Department
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2013 16:47
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/7550

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