World Congress of Soil Science Logo 18th World Congress of Soil Science
July 9-15, 2006 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
International Union of Soil Sciences

Friday, 14 July 2006

This presentation is part of 111: 3.1A Land Use Planning: Environmental, Economic and Social Trade-offs - Oral

Further Experiences with Conservation Agriculture in Africa.

Ademir Calegari, IAPAR, Soil Dept - IAPAR, Londrina, Brazil and John Ashburner, FAO Regional Office for Africa, P.O. Box 1628, Accra, Ghana.

Soil degradation in Africa continues to be a major challenge and potential solutions lie far beyond the boundaries of soil science. The common farming practice of fallow has now a significantly diminished efficiency as the fallowing period has been shortened due to an increased pressure on land usage. Conflicts between crop and livestock production, land tenure systems, labour availability, markets and other issues have made it essential for African countries to look for more sustainable agricultural production systems. To these ends, increasing efforts have been made over the recent years to adopt a more holistic approach to address not only food security issues but also the well being of rural families and better protection of the natural resource base. Therefore, the Conservation Agriculture has been developed in many different African countries, and some interesting results have been achieved. This paper draws on experience accumulated in many different parts of Africa where agro-climatic and social conditions vary widely. It tries to address some of the key questions that have been raised as to the potential applicability of conservation agriculture in the region, drawing upon experience generated through the activities of FAO, GTZ, Austrian Cooperation, RELMA in ICRAF and the World Bank, amongst many others. Whilst reviewing these experiences, an effort is also made to highlight issues where knowledge remains scant or where much work remains to be done. As such, it attempts to identify some of the key issues that need to be addressed quickly if the advantages of conservation agriculture are to be felt and if there is to be any chance of meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDG's) numbers 1, 7, and 8 in time .

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