Zimbabwe Farmers' Union

Farmer-led scaling up of Conservation Agriculture

Project Title

Farmer-led Scaling-up of Conservation Agriculture

Convening Partners

 

SACAU
NORAD ( Norwegian Agency for Development)

Collaborating Partner

Ministry Of Agriculture
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education
Khangela Studios

Strategic Partners

Sustainable Agriculture Trust
Zimbabwe Conservation Agriculture Network ( ZIMCAN
FAO

Target Location (s)for Pilot

 

  • Mashonaland East [ Murewa, Goromonzi, Wedza]
  • Manicaland [Mutare, Makoni, Mutasa]

Target Number

4000 farmers

Timeframe

May 2013-June 2016

 

Baseline:

    • Average yields for maize less than 1 ton per ha
    • Practice of CA only practiced by beneficiaries of  free inputs from donor  humanitarian assistance.
    • Drudgery due to the  the use of the hand hoe as primary tool of CA [ land prep, planting and weeding]
    • Zero usage of herbicides as an efficient, cheaper and time saving  weed management technology option.
    • Lack of appreciation of the advantages of CA by communal smallholder farmers

Implementation Approach

    • 50 School-based Young Farmers Clubs (YFCs) Demo Plots + 40 Community Demo plots supported – working with farmers from community (appr. 80 farmers each ~ total 4000 farmers organised into CA Clubs)
    • Community equipment rings as an economic way to improve access to CA implements including ox-drawn equipment.
    • High level of stakeholder involvement to improve access to inputs and services and ensure sustainability of intervention.

Key Activities

Awareness &Training

    • Targeted all lead farmers, Agric teachers, Extension Staff, intensive, field based
    • What is CA, Why CA
    • CA principles
    • Mechanized CA
    • Competency in using CA equipment
    • Good crop husbandry – land prep, planting, fertilizer application, weed control (herbicide use), mulching, rotations, multi-cropping, crop associations
    • Demo plot layout

Achievements : 

    • High levels of appreciation of CA principles by smallholder farmers
    • High quality demos, exceptional crop stands
    • Vibrant, passionate, proud CA groups, YFCs
    • Intense farmer to farmer learning and exchange  
    • Active participation of women, highly motivated in mechanized CA
    • Close interaction between School YFCs and communities
    • Early uptake of CA by smallholder farmers [ ~ 2000ha]
    • Strong partnerships with agribusiness i.e seed and implement suppliers
    • Efficient use of inputs
    • Improved yields [ from 1ton/ha to 3-4 tons /ha]

Challenges :

  • High cost of inputs (improved seed, fertilisers, herbicides)
  • Lack of adequate resources for
    • the necessary investments e.g. drip irrigation kits, implements
    • Scaling-up the project to other regions
  • Lack of established, effective extension system to build onto