Options for Improving Smallholder Conservation Agriculture in Zambia

Bridget. B. Umar, Jens. B. Aune, Fred. H. Johnsen, Obed. I. Lungu

Abstract


This study examined the agronomic practices of smallholder Conservation Agriculture (CA) farmers in Zambia. Questionnaire survey, focus group discussions, key informant interviews, field assessments, desk study and soil analyses were employed to collect data on tillage systems, crop rotations, weed control, soil fertility management, crop residue retention and crop yields. The results showed that weed management, crop residue retention, timely planting and soil fertility management were the most challenging for CA farmers especially those without reliable access to oxen. Crop residue retention conflicted with the socio-cultural practices of the communities and was hardly practised while crop rotation seemed difficult in light of the dominance of maize cultivation and the lack of markets for crop legumes. Possible options for improving smallholder CA systems were greater integration of livestock, correct herbicide application, market provision for crop legumes, farmer training in agri-business and better access to agricultural credit and subsidized inputs. CA promoters must incorporate the farmers’ local cultural contexts in order to better address the challenges associated with adopting CA.

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Journal of Agricultural Science ISSN 1916-9752 (Print) ISSN 1916-9760 (Online)

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