Conservation Agriculture News

Role of CA in Sustainable Production for Smallholder Farmers in Africa

A special issue of the Journal 'Environments' (March 2015), published by MDPI (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, an academic open-access publisher), is dedicated to the theme of: "The Role of Conservation Agriculture in Sustainable Production Intensification for Smallholder Farmers in Africa", with TAA member Amir Kassam and Saidi Mkomwa as Guest Editors. Click the link to the special issue, or the link to the Journal Environments. 

2nd Conference on CA for Smallholders (CASH-II)

The conference was held at Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh, Bangladesh 14-16 February, 2017. Publications are available: ‘Conservation Agriculture and Farm Mechanization in Bangladesh’ and the Mymensingh Declaration for Conservation Agriculture’Copies of the Proceedings can be obtained from Richard Bell  or Enamul Haque.


ACT: African Conservation Tillage Network

ACT’s work is to stimulate, facilitate and challenge for mutual sharing of information and knowledge on experiences or lessons on promotion of conservation agriculture in Africa. These efforts enable farmers, entrepreneurs, policy makers, researchers, learners and academicians and other stakeholders to access and share information and knowledge on CA, thereby contributing to better and more appropriate policies and programmes in the efforts to scale-up CA in Africa. Ultimately Conservation Agriculture (CA) as an approach to managing agro-ecosystems helps improve and sustain land productivity, increase profits and food security while preserving and enhancing the resource base and the environment. Read the latest news from ACT.

European Conservation Agriculture Federation Newsletter

Please find the first ECAF Newsletter 2017 at the ECAF website.

Conservation NewsBriefs

The Soil & Water Conservation Society  (SWCS) publishes Conservation NewsBriefs on topics related to soil and water conservation, comprising latest news articles and trending titles. These are searchable and cover the archive back to 2011.

New book: "CA for Africa"

CABI is pleased to announce that the following CABI title is now available to buy: 9781780645681 - "Conservation Agriculture for Africa". Click here to view and purchase this title.

Conservation Agriculture and Climate Resilience

Kiziro Mazvimavi and the ICRISAT Bulawayo team have maintained the panel data set that DfID established in 2007 with relief funds!  A clear example of how on-farm observation can help us understand more clearly the windows for the promotion of conservation agriculture for a range of crops.  Key is that one must remember that this is just one practice – basins – that makes up the wealth of potential interventions under the CA umbrella. Read the paper online. (kindly submitted by David Radcliffe.

CA: Best Practices for Resource-Limited Smallholder Farms

ECHO has published a Best Practice Note on Conservation agriculture (CA) – October 2016. CA is a resource-saving land management approach that optimizes and sustains the capacity of soils to produce food. In CA, sustainability is linked to the ecological preservation of agricultural landscapes. This is achieved through 1) minimal soil disturbance, 2) keeping soils covered, and 3) crop diversification. Implementing these three elements requires a combination of practices, for which there are many options. Thinking of CA as an overall system, rather than a fixed set of techniques, gives farmers and practitioners the freedom to evaluate and adopt a set of CA-related practices appropriate to local needs. Farmers in many parts of the world, because of human population growth, have little choice but to crop their land continuously, with scarce resources to replace nutrients withdrawn by each successive crop. Crop residues are often lost as a source of organic matter and mulch, usually through burning or by removal for animal feed or cooking fuel. Especially where nutrient reserves are already low, and topsoil is exposed to erosion, soils lose their capacity to sustain adequate crop yields. Additionally, extreme weather events, adverse changes in climate, human conflict, and sickness can all work against smallholder farmers’ abilities to sustain the productive capacity of their soils. Click here to read the Best Practice Note on CA.

CA in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan 

Download the 2016 FAO-ICARDA publication on the Practice of Conservation Agriculture in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan

Field Results of SCI/CA in Dangs, Gujarat, India

Conservation Agriculture has been widely adopted by farmers across the world as an alternative to conventional tillage-based agriculture. It represents smart agriculture which can lead to sustainability. The technique promises a win-win situation for farmers as it reduces their costs of production (without reducing their productivity), enhance soil health, safeguard the environment, and adapt the crops for climate change. Read the report by AKRSP, May 2016.

CA in Bangladesh

The Conservation Agriculture (CA) project has been active in Bangladesh since 1 April, 2012 in Rajshahi, Rajbari, Thakurgaon, and Mymensingh with the funding support of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). The project is collaboration among – Bangladesh Agricultural University; Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute; Bangladesh Rice Research Institute; Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council; and Murdoch University. Read the Newsletter.

Cornell University Conservation Agriculture Updates

See the full research database for CA articles from Cornell at and monthly reports.

Long Term Effects of CA

Long term effect of conservation agriculture in maize rotations on total organic carbon, physical and biological properties of a sandy loam soil in north-western Indo-gangetic plaints.Soil and Tillage Research, 2016, developed jointly by researchers of ICARDA, ICAR (IIMR, IARI), CIMMYT, and BISA. Download here ...

Soil Health in Field and Forage Crop Production

Soil health is the continued capacity of soil to function as a living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans. This 32-page full-color publication by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service  discusses the natural principles of the no-till system and discusses 14 management techniques for improving soil health: diversify crop rotations, plant cover crops, diversify cover crops, maximize living roots, grow living plants, manage carbon, use interseeding, plant green, enhance soil armour, manage nutrients, manage manure, manage pests, avoid compaction, and integrate crops and livestock. Download the full publication by clicking here

Seminar sees European Parliament address benefits of Conservation Agriculture     

Over the past few years, the European Conservation Agriculture Federation (ECAF -- has been holding consultations with the European Commission, as well as with European Parliament, on the possibility of integrating Conservation Agriculture into the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) framework that provides support to European farmers and European Agriculture. The last two reforms of CAP have focussed onsustainability issues and the greening of CAP.

On 13 January,the European Parliament hosted the seminar "Making Sustainable Agriculture Real”; organised by MEPs Clara Aguilera and Nicola Caputo (Members of the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee) and invited ECAF members and farmers from 7 member states (including a TAA member) - representative of over 3 million hectares of cropland under Conservation Agriculture in Europe - to share insights on the application and benefits of Conservation Agriculture practices.The seminar agenda is attached herewith, via the following links, which provide information on the different media coverage of the event.  

CA in Azerbajan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan

Read the 2015 working paper on Conservation Agriculture in the irrigated areas of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan summarizing project GCP/RER/030/TUR, implemented by ICARDA and funded by FAO-Turkey Partnership Program. Submitted via FAO by Aziz Nurbekov  ICARDA-Taskent, Uzbekistan

Farming Forward for Climate Change: Manifesto of Conservation Agriculturalists

At the Paris climate conference - COP 21, APAD hosted a side meeting on behalf of the Global Conservation Agriculture Network (G-Can) on the role of Conservation Agriculture in addressing climate change issues. A Manifesto ("Farming Forward for Climate Change”) supported by national and regional organizations of farmers practicing Conservation Agriculture was launched at the meeting. APAD also organized a visit to a Conservation Agriculture farm near Paris to learn more about this no-till production systems from the farmer.

 Brown Revolution for Africa

Philanthropist Dr. Howard G. Buffett, who is a farmer and an ambassador against hunger for the United Nations’ World Food Program, calls for a "Brown Revolution” in Africa. Items included in the pepper are: Listen to the farmer; Africa' no-till revolution; No-till, African style; We are treating soil like dirt: Its a fatal mistake; One farmer's story of Conservation Agriculture; What does a $100 billion asset manager say farmers should invest in? Soil; Losing the farm; Assessing Africa's real potential for agriculture.

Articles in 'Environments' on Conservation Agriculture

We are pleased to announce the publication of the following issue of Environments, Volume 2, Issue 3 (September 2015), Pages 280-434. A Special Issue on  The Role of Conservation Agriculture in Sustainable Production Intensification for Smallholder Farmers in Africa

Article: Evidence and Lessons Learned from Long-Term On-Farm Research on Conservation Agriculture Systems in Communities in Malawi and Zimbabwe by Christian Thierfelder, William Trent Bunderson and Walter Mupangwa. Environments 2015, 2(3), 317-337; doi:10.3390/environments2030317

 Article: Where to Target Conservation Agriculture for African Smallholders? How to Overcome Challenges Associated with its Implementation? Experience from Eastern and Southern Africa by Frédéric Baudron, Christian Thierfelder, Isaiah Nyagumbo and Bruno Gérard. Environments 2015, 2(3), 338-357; doi:10.3390/environments2030338

 Article: Effects of Conservation Agriculture and Fertilization on Soil Microbial Diversity and Activity by Johan Habig and Corrie Swanepoe.l Environments 2015, 2(3), 358-384; doi:10.3390/environments2030358

Article: Mulching and Fertilization Effects on Weed Dynamics under Conservation Agriculture-Based Maize Cropping in Zimbabwe by Florence Mtambanengwe, Hatirarami Nezomba, Tonny Tauro, Christopher Chagumaira, Muneta G. Manzeke and Paul Mapfumo. Environments 2015, 2(3), 399-414; doi:10.3390/environments2030399


View all up-dates and alerts for the CA-COP on the FAO website, click here

FAO Alert No. 48 (12 March 2017)

1. No-till and conservation agriculture in the United States: An example from the David Brandt farm, Carroll, Ohio. By R. Islam and R. Reeder, International Soil and Water Conservation Research, Vol. 2(1): 97-107. (2014).

2. Fifteen years of no till increase soil organic matter, microbial biomass and arthropod diversity in cover crop-based arable cropping systems. By Tek Sapkota, Mazzoncini, B`arberi, Antichi, Silvestri. Agron. Sustain. Dev. 32:853-863 (2012).

3. Cross-Site Soil Microbial Communities under Tillage Regimes: Fungistasis and Microbial Biomarkers. By T. Sipila et al. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 78(23):819 (2012).

4. Food security in a changing climate. By Rattan Lal. Ecohydrology & Hydrobiology 13: 8–21 (2013).

5. Meta-analysis approach to assess effect of tillage on microbial biomass and enzyme activities. By Stacy Zuber and Maria Villamil. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 97: 176-187 (2016).

6. Planting date and yield benefits from conservation agriculture practices across Southern Africa. By Isaiah Nyagumbo et al. Agricultural Systems 150: 21-33 (2017).

7. Inaugural No-till show and Conference: A Vision for the Future. By Brian Sims (2016).

8. Agricultural Mechanization: A key input for sub-Saharan African smallholders. By Brian Sims et al. Integrated Crop Management Vol. 23 (2016).

9. The potential for companion cropping on UK arable farms. By Andrew Howard. A Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust Report (2016).

10. Up-dating Conservation Agriculture Database in AquaStat, FAO.

The CA land area database is updated periodically based on the feedback received from our regular sources of information. These include: official government sources, no-till associations, NGOs, national and international research institutes, and informed individuals. The information is posted in AquaStat. The latest figures (update 2013) can be seen at the FAO CA-Website at (