S. Swenson; K.M. Moore
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Virginia Tech, Office of International Research, Education, and Development (OIRED)
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Abstract: Conservation agriculture (CA) has been trumpeted as the solution for reducing soil degradation and increasing agricultural productivity around the world. Some farmland settings, such as in Brazil and the United States, have established substantial hectarage in conservation agriculture production systems (CAPS) establishment, while other locations, such as in Africa, have little permanent adoption of CA practices. A close review of the literature on adoption of CA technologies indicates that small-scale farmers are unlikely to adopt the practices that mechanized commercial farmers have so readily embraced. Smallholder farmers need additional support to overcome the risks and uncertainties involved in changing agricultural inputs, practices, and knowledge necessary to improve their production systems.
This analysis of successful CAPS adaptation suggests that stakeholder networks play a critical role. Locally constructed networks can build a foundation for innovation, development, and diffusion of CA knowledge and practices among smallholders by providing access to resources for successful implementation of CAPS that increase the intensity of smallholder farming. This working paper introduces a model highlighting the main components of the generic CAPS to identify the main opportunities for and obstacles to successful transition to conservation agriculture.