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Adoption by adaptation: Moving from conservation agriculture to conservation practices

Adoption by adaptation: Moving from conservation agriculture to conservation practices

Rodenburg, Jonne ORCID: 0000-0001-9059-9253, Buchi, Lucie ORCID: 0000-0002-1935-6176 and Haggar, Jeremy ORCID: 0000-0002-4682-4879 (2020) Adoption by adaptation: Moving from conservation agriculture to conservation practices. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability. ISSN 1473-5903 (Print), 1747-762X (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/14735903.2020.1785734)

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Abstract

Conservation Agriculture (CA) is a Sustainable Agricultural Intensification strategy based on minimum soil disturbance, permanent soil coverage by living or dead biomass, and diversification of crop rotations. We reviewed the literature on benefits, trade-offs, adoption and adaptation of CA in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). While CA can improve soils and sustain crop yields, benefits are inconsistent and there are trade-offs with crop residue use, weeds and insect pests, labour demands and short-term yield penalties. Adoption rates by smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa are generally low. We hypothesize that underlying adoption constraints are 1) the magnitude of transformation of management practices required from farmers moving to CA, 2) the multiple inherent trade-offs associated with CA practices and 3) the incompatibility of CA practices to local conditions. We suggest CA adoption in SSA could be improved by focusing the promotion of CA to environments where it best fits, or by facilitating smallholders’ adaptation of the practices of CA to respond to their conditions and constraints. We, therefore, propose to move from Conservation Agriculture to Conservation Practices by: (A) identifying and overcoming locally important CA trade-offs through adaptations and complementary practices, and (B) finding farm-specific optimal combinations of practices in terms of feasibility and benefits.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2020 University of Greenwich. Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Uncontrolled Keywords: no-till; crop diversification; mulching; Africa; agroecology; smallholders; trade-offs
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Ecosystem Services Research Group
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2020 00:04
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/28777

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