Conservation agriculture (CA) can be defined as “a concept for resource-saving agricultural crop production that
strives to achieve acceptable profits together with high and sustained production levels while concurrently
conserving the environment” CA is based on three key principles:
Practicing minimal mechanical soil disturbance which is essential to maintaining minerals within the soil,
stopping soil erosion, and preventing water loss from the soil.
Managing the top soil to create a permanent organic soil cover allowing for growth of organisms within the
Crop rotation with more than two crop species.
Radio stations, more so rural radio stations, should be in the frontline in providing to the farmer the information
needed about CA. This necessitates programs that focus on the following:
Provide information on soil tillage intensity, all types of them- from minimum tillage, to ripping, to actual no-tillage.
Bring out the difficulties farmers face when abandoning conventional tillage.
Providing soil cover is a cornerstone of CA. Most farmers find it difficult to achieve soil cover, because it is difficult
for them to balance between soil cover and livestock demands, due to lack of enough biomass.
Weed control becomes a challenge when farming is done manually. Lack of enough soil cover leads to increase in
aggressive weed growth because of reduced tillage.
Adequate weed control is critical to avoiding crop failure. Farmers can use herbicides such as Glyphosate.
Weed control is hindered by restricted access to herbicides and sprayers as well as scarce or expensive labour
Equipment and Inputs
Lack of access to both equipment and inputs leads to delayed planting which has adverse effects on yields and
income. Information on technologies such as reduced tillage systems, different seeding technologies, herbicides,
and cover crop seeds is essential though many may not find them accessible or affordable.
Large scale adoption of CA practices requires a functioning inputs supply chain. This necessitates the public and
private sectors to play a more proactive role in developing local capacity for manufacturing and making available
The media should emphasize on the need of having Empowered Famers Groups as a right entry point for making
inputs and services available.
Balancing Between Technological and Field-Scale Issues
Overemphasize has been in issues such as tillage, cover crops, weed control, and implements on at the field scale.
Issues such as rural finance, marketing, and value chain development as well as organizational or policy issues
should also be highlighted.
The importance of government institutions as well as publicly funded projects should be stressed. Participatory
approaches of training such as Farmer Field Schools, which are cost effective, should also be touched.
Other concerns to be addressed by these programs are:
Integration of environmental concerns into agricultural projects
What the law says in relation to agricultural and environmental conservation
How effective/ineffective the enforcement of the above legislations has been
The use of the early warning systems that monitor the weather conditions and advice farmers effectively-
have they been accurate, to what extend should the farmer trust them
What is the private sector doing towards inputs in agriculture-e.g. the Equity Bank agricultural loans