Conservation agriculture (CA) practices based on the principles of minimal soil disturbance, permanent soil cover and crop rotation are helping farmers combat growing environmental challenges by maintaining and boosting yields, while protecting the environment and increasing profits for smallholders globally. When CA practices are coupled with water-use efficient and drought tolerant varieties, the benefits are even greater.
Thanks to CIMMYT efforts, Angeline Odero and 2,000 other farmers in Boro Community in Siaya County, western Kenya, received training in good agricultural practices focusing on the importance of using new technologies for weed free crops and increased yields. Herbicide use has a ripple effect outcome as evidenced by the smallholder farmers' fields - farmers have cleaner crops, experience less drudgery, better productivity, and higher incomes. Photo: Johnson Siamachira/CIMMYT.
On her 2-acre farm in Siaya county, western Kenya, Florence Awiti applies an intercrop system of drought tolerant maize and kidney beans. Not only does this technology help to reduce the emergence of the dreadful parasitic weed, Striga, but it also ensures she and her family enjoy a healthy, balanced meal. With income from selling excess produce, Florence can comfortably pay her children’s school fees, and take care of other household expenses. Photo: Kelah Kaimenyi/ CIMMYT
Following bouts of Striga, and attacks from rodents on her farm, a frustrated Hellen Akinyi gave up on maize farming. The mother of six chose instead to put up a tree nursery, from which she earns an income selling seedlings. An extension officer in Alego sub-county, western Kenya, where Hellen resides, spoke to her and others about climate smart technologies, including intercropping. Like Florence, Hellen has seen a remarkable difference on her farm thanks to this technology – increased yields and reduced emergence of Striga on her farm. Photo: Kelah Kaimenyi/ CIMMYT
Farmers, among other benefits, have realized that maize yields in conservation agriculture (CA) systems involving crop rotations and intercropping with legumes increase yields. The results from the field confirms that CA saves labor, which enables farmers to plant timely, leading to improved profitability. In the photograph, smallholder farmer Lughano Mwangonde a CA adopter in Balaka District in Malawi, in her demonstration plot. Photo: Johnson Siamachira/CIMMYT.
Climate smart technology: planting drought tolerant maize varieties