Since 1996, a growing coalition of stakeholders from the private sector, government and donor communities has promoted a new package of agronomic practices for smallholders in Zambia.
Results from a survey of 125 farms in Central and Southern provinces during the
2001/2 cropping season suggest that, on average, hand-hoe Conservation Farming (CF) farmers produced 1.5 tons more maize and 460 kg more cotton per hectare than did farmers practicing conventional ox-plow tillage. Among maize farmers, 1.1 tons of this increase comes from the CF technology 400 kg from early planting and 700 kg from water harvesting and greater precision in input use in the basins while the remaining 400 kg stems from higher doses of fertilizer, lime and high-yielding variety (hyv) seeds. Because cotton farmers use standard packages of seed and pesticides, the great bulk of the observed gain under CF --430 of the total 460 kg gain -- stems from the water harvesting, precision and timeliness
of the CF system. Erratic early season rainfall showcased the water-harvesting benefits of CF during the 2001/02 season. Since results will no doubt vary under different rainfall regimes, future monitoring will be necessary to evaluate impact over a series of production seasons.
Authors and Publishers
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) provides research-based policy solutions to sustainably reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition in developing countries. Established in 1975, IFPRI currently has more than 500 employees working in over 50 countries. It is a research center of theCGIAR Consortium, a worldwide partnership engaged in agricultural research for development.