Knowledge for Development

Performance and impacts of conservation agriculture on family farms in the South


Date: 08/02/2013


This meta-study conducted by scientists from CIRAD (France) and partner institutions in Brazil, presents the advantages and limitations of conservation agriculture (CA). It shows that while CA is a viable option to achieve sustainable and intensive crop production, its success mostly results from the permanent presence of organic mulch on the soil surface and the incorporation of cover crops in the rotations. Thus, applying CA principles requires a significant reorganisation of the production process at farm level, and when facing technical or socioeconomic constraints, most farmers usually opt for applying only partially the three main principles of conservation agriculture. The authors point to further investigations into the consequences of such partial implementation of conservation agriculture principles on its actual efficiency.

(CIRAD, 09/2012)

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