Malawian farmer in her groundnut plot under conservation agriculture
Farmer Belia Sikelo walks through a groundnut plot under conservation agriculture (CA). She and her husband Jelimoti have been practicing CA and demonstrating it to other farmers since the 2005-06 cropping season, with support from extension workers. Visitors to their fields, in Mwansambo extension planning area, Nkhotakota zone, central Malawi, can see the benefits of CA for themselves, and compare it with conventional practices.
CA is a set of practices that includes eliminating traditional ridge-and-furrow tillage systems, keeping crop residues on the soil, and rotating or intercropping maize with other crops. In addition to labor and cost savings, the improved soil structure resists erosion and increases water infiltration and retention, a huge benefit when drought threatens in places like Malawi, where maize subsists on rain alone.
Photo credit: T. Samson/CIMMYT.
For more, see CIMMYT's 2012 e-news story "Conservation agriculture in Malawi: 'We always have problems with rain here,'" available online at: www.cimmyt.org/en/front-page-tems/aboutmediaresources/130....