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Conservation agriculture is a set of farming practices that ‘conserve’ the land’s natural replenishing qualities so that expensive fertilizers and pesticides are not necessary. The practices include low tillage, crop residue retention, early land preparation, crop rotation involving leguminous plants, and tree intercropping.
One facet of conservation agriculture is agroforestry. This is the tradition of planting trees directly in amongst crops in order to benefit from the mutually-enhancing qualities of the two species.
Agroforestry with certain nitrogen-fixing tree species increases soil fertility and thereby agricultural yields, which in turn enhances food security and income generation. Planting trees as part of a set of conservation agriculture practices also has potential to contribute significantly to climate change mitigation and adaptation.
ACCE, through the Green Knowledge Institute Advisory Services, is working with Zambian and international partners to help smallholder farmers adopt certain conservation farming practices, and in doing so to enable them to qualify for additional revenues from the sale of carbon credits developed through the emerging Sustainable Agricultural Land Management (SALM) methodology under the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS). There is significant potential to replicate SALM projects across Africa, with multiple benefits including:
- Stimulation of supply of African credits for trading on the Exchange
- Additional revenue streams to smallholder farmers
- Enhanced crop yields and soil fertility
- Reduced pressure on forests and wildlife for food and income generation
- Promotion of long-term sustainable land management practices.
Agroforestry being practiced with Faidherbia albida
To download our Conservation Agriculture brochure click here.