CAWT Survey: Scaling-up the science and practice of conservation agriculture in sub-saharan Africa

An evergreen revolution is required in sub-Saharan Africa where increased human and livestock activities have led to the collapse of conventional soil conservation systems and increased land degradation soil compaction, nutrient and organic matter depletion, reduced water holding capacity and microbial activity. The proposed project is premised on the hypothesis that integrating trees with conservation agriculture has the potential to enable smallholder farmers attain resilient evergreen agriculture leading to more sustainable production and agro-ecosystems, and hence contribute to poverty reduction and increased food security while enhancing the resilience of systems in the face of climate change. However, for CAWT to become a reality for smallholder farmers in SSA there are several gaps in knowledge that must be filled. Information is lacking on the drivers that have made some countries succeed in scaling up CA, the constraints they face and how they address them, lessons learnt and how to advance success to larger scale impacts. The complementary effects of trees on CA under different environmental conditions are not well documented. Other issues include knowledge on how long term access to land, availability of inputs, appropriate CA implements, adequate extension support and advice, and institutional and policy support influence adoption of CA. Empowering, adaptive and participatory, bottom-up research and extension approaches are essential to stimulate more farmers to test and adopt CA and agroforestry for sustainable production intensification. The overall goal of the CAWT initiative is to promote a continental wide adoption of conservation agriculture and agroforestry to sustain the productive potential of the natural resource base, improve incomes, foods security and livelihoods of smallholder farmers in sub Saharan Africa.